Monday, April 23, 2018
Features and More

'Slipping' handles gay teens without the glee

ST. PETERSBURG — Slipping has the angst of many plays about teenagers. A sullen high school student named Eli is having trouble adjusting to his new life in the blandness of suburban Des Moines, Iowa, where he has been exiled from one of the capitals of cool, the San Francisco Bay area. And there are more heavy emotional matters at work, too, with the recent death of his father. Eli's mother, a college professor, is making a fresh start and seeing other men, even bringing some of them home for sex, much to her son's displeasure.

What makes Daniel Talbott's play different, though, is that Eli is openly gay, and his sexuality is handled in a relatively matter-of-fact manner in the production at the [email protected], directed by Bob Devin Jones. In the leading role, Drew Smith is convincing as a tormented gay teen in a time when coming out is more understood, if no less hard, than it used to be. Incorporating music by the Smiths, Linkin Park, the Velvet Underground and other edgy rockers, this is a grunge version of gay youth, compared with the freshfaced kids from Glee.

To be a teenage boy is to be obsessed with sex, and Slipping gets that right. What also feels true are Eli's awkward physical relationships with his boyfriends, Chris, a closeted, abusive soccer player in California, played by Vincent Stalba in flashback scenes, and Jake (Ian Gabriel Gonzalez-Muentener), a high school shortstop in Iowa. A constant rough and tumble jostling goes on between these inarticulate guys, breaking into violence at times. Bonnie Agan combines nurturing and feisty independence as Eli's mom.

Structurally, Talbott's play is broken into brief, often cryptic scenes — Eli and Jake's first encounter consists of six lines — that give the narrative a herky-jerky quality. More than 30 scene changes slow down the momentum in the studio's rudimentary staging.

Slipping is not for every theatergoer. It has nudity, graphic language and an extremely dirty joke about Martha Stewart.

John Fleming can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8716.

Comments
Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

Review: American Stage hits ‘The Producers’ out of the park

ST. PETERSBURG — Without question, Mel Brooks’ The Producers carved a more indelible mark than most of the musicals in the entire genre of throwaway musicals it parodied.The creator of Get Smart and Blazing Saddles not only co-wrote the adaptation of...
Updated: 7 hours ago
It’s a boy! Kate Middleton gives birth to third royal baby

It’s a boy! Kate Middleton gives birth to third royal baby

LONDON — For Kate, the wait is over. The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a healthy baby boy — a third child for Kate and Prince William and fifth in line to the British throne.The couple’s Kensington Palace office announced news of the birt...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Taste test: vanilla wafers

Taste test: vanilla wafers

When it comes to cookies, our judges are all in. When it comes to vanilla wafers, most of them admitted to reaching for the familiar Nilla Wafers in the bright yellow box. Surprisingly, they liked the well-known brand least of the seven wafers sample...
Published: 04/23/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

Associated PressLAYA, BhutanPrayer flags whip in the wind, flying across steep valleys and roads. Buddhist temples, stupa shrines and majestic fortresses called zhongs dot the landscape. Giant water-powered prayer wheels spin from tumbling falls. Far...
Published: 04/20/18
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

ORLANDO — When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened 20 years ago, it was light on thrills and heavy on conservation. On April 22, 1998, Earth Day, the Orlando park had a single thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction, and a handful of shows like ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

TAMPA — Appropriately enough, a local distillery is releasing a hemp vodka on Friday, 4/20.After more than a year of planning and research, Fat Dog Spirits — the parent company of Touch Vodka — is releasing its new Nirvana vodka.Served in 750-millile...
Published: 04/19/18
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

SPRING HILL Joe Lemieux sat on the cream sofa near several relics from another era in his life, out of place in this retiree’s pastel-tinged living room and brought into the morning light specifically for this occasion. There was a beaded nec...
Published: 04/19/18