You don’t need to go into the dark for Year of the Rooster by Eric Dufault—it’s outside fare, maybe right for summer or youth productions.  Deep analysis of the human condition is not forthcoming—and you’ll miss subtlety–but this is theatre as rowdiness.  Dare I say, it’s a “cocky” show from young creators who can still be cheeky and somewhat cruel (New York theatre has never had a problem laughing at Southern stereotypes).  It might even be a story better animated—it’s the tale of a rooster, who can fight in the ring (Bobby Moreno) and his meek, doormat owner (Thomas Lyons) who still lives with his mother (Delphi Harrington).  Dufault does know how to structure, but the work doesn’t reverberate. Allusions are also made to Odysseus and Polyphemus in The Odyssey, but no one needs to worry about cracking open the Homer (much less reading any Orwell).  What the playwright and the director (John Giampietro) have done, however, is to create a show about energy, a blast of adrenaline (and they’re ably helped by the psyched-up Youngbloods at EST).  Year of the Rooster will wake you up–not to the realities of Obamacare or the 28-hour work week—but to loud, physical “boy” or “lad” theatre, sometimes sophomoric or puerile, but a relief from all those plays about cross-dressing and identity politics.  An editor friend, who was early on to the Amoralists, pointed at Moreno, a young Rocky wearing eye black, and told me he’s one to watch.  That’s what you get in these “incubator” shows—the realization about which came first: it’s definitely the egg.

Also with Denny Dale Bess and Megan Tusing.

Visit Ensemble Studio Theater: http://ensemblestudiotheatre.org/

© 2013 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.        

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