Andrew Hinderaker’s play, Colossal, is a breakthrough as both a play about sports and a play about gay love. It makes the connection of contact sports as inherently homoerotic without turning it into something to get giggly or snarky about. It also shows gay love in terms of an ultimate sacrifice and as something not infused with consciously activist politics. Just basic and primal feelings. Paradoxically, that’s exactly what makes it such a socio-politically powerful work.
Torsten Johnson gives an endearingly beautiful performance as young Mike, a white football player in love with his black teammate, Marcus, portrayed in an endearingly sexy performance by Darius Dotch. Mike shows vulnerability as Marcus shows resistance to that. Within that space is the mysterious, and for Marcus, frighteningly appealing realm of the homoerotic and the homoromantic.
Renown choreographer David Deblieck shines as Damon, Mike’s dance artist father who can’t abide his son being a contact sport athlete with all it’s aggression and injury potential. Toby Forrest, moving as the older, disabled Mike is splendidly matched with Ansa Akyea as Jerry, Mike’s tough love rehabilitation therapist. Stephen Yoakam brings exquisitely understated depth to the role of the coach.
Colossal’s unique structure: four 15 minute quarters with halftime show is robustly and handsomely lived into by an athletic young cast playing football players. Angharad Davies’s full contact choreography simply beguiles. Football is the source of lyrically poetic body movement. Transgender director Will Davis has unquestionably triumphed with Hinderaker’s groundbreaking, game-changing play.
Through Nov. 9
Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 so. 4th St., Mpls.