Dir. Nora Wardell, The Citizens, 28th March – 1st April
Drunk Enough To Say I love You? is a very masculine play, and this is obvious from the moment I walk into the small Circle Studio upstairs at the Citizens Theatre. The audience is greeted by a sparse set that includes a punch bag, guitar case, stereo and mini bar. The lack of stage means I first mistake the two actors for audience members as they pace about the small space. Chairs are placed against the walls around the room, creating a space almost like a boxing ring, which is enhanced by the flashing lights and techno music.
The play is the story of Guy: a working class man who leaves his wife and family for a love affair with Sam. Sam represents Uncle Sam and America, whilst Guy appears to represent your average Joe. Their relationship is tumultuous as Guy helps Sam with his often violent foreign policies and in return receives coke, drinks and passion.
Much of Drunk Enough To Say I love You? consists of the two characters shouting statistics, election fixing methods, military intervention tactics, dates, countries and torture techniques at each other. After a while I become desensitised to the fact that they are talking about bombings, assassinations and real human lives, as everything blurs into angry shouting. Essentially, the 45 minute-long play is a bombastic history of the last 20 years of American foreign policy.
Sam as America is a quintessential beer swillin’, guitar playing, macho man. His physical presence in the room feels threatening, as he frequently uses the punch bag to express his emotions. The hyper-masculinity contrasts with but also contributes to the overt sexual tension throughout the play. There is one kiss on stage, with Sam roughly grabbing Guy by the shirt and pulling him in. The relationship between masculinity and homosexuality, one that isn’t presented as being contradictory, is one of the most fascinating elements of the play.
Overall, the play is a brutal but brilliant piece of political theatre. Written in the era of Tony Blair and George Bush Jr., it feels fiercely relevant once again in our current political climate.