#bros. Written by Jake Jeppson. Directed by Rose Oser. Faultline Theater, 144 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA.
A website dedicated to ‘sensitive bros’ is the launching point for Jake Jeppson’s biting satire on identity politics, liberal racism, and white male privilege. The editorial team of sensitivebros.com tosses about ridiculously funny topics for their site: anal fissures, chinchillas, basset hounds and penises in high heels. Their brainstorming session is blatantly absurd with some wicked stereotyping and liberal hypocrisy thrown in for good measure. Their brilliant idea is a bro-code app, hashtags words for guys who can’t say what they mean in public. They name it Cyrano, a clever referenced to Edmond Rostand’s famous character of eloquent speech.
Megan Wicks (Sky) and Brennan Pickman-Thoon (Matty). Photo by Clive Walker.
Matty, one of the more sensitive bros (wonderfully acted by Brenna Pickman-Thoon), wants to date Sky (Megan Wicks), a no-nonsense barista, but his white male sensitivity bothers her to no end. Their stormy relationship mirrors the timeless struggle between male power, controlling women and maintaining the status quo. Brian, Matty’s African-American co-worker, represents the sensitive black man; torn between his gentle side and the stereotypical angry black male. Dating a white woman, he feels the pain of her parent’s WASP indoctrination. Derek Jones gives a solid performance as a conflicted man unable to make a decision to marry his girlfriend.
Ryan Hayes is absolutely despicable as the website’s head honcho; driven only by ad space, click-throughs and revenues, he’ll do just about anything to line his pockets. When their ‘#justcuz’ meme is hijacked by a renegade group (Men’s Rights Militia), all hell breaks loose. The ridiculousness intensifies as SensitiveBros.com tries to remedy the situation. Matty and Sky’s relationship deteriorates and things get really ugly when they both make hateful twitter posts that spiral out of control. The cast is rounded out by Heren Patel as a clueless, sexist Indian-American, Jonathan Villaluz as the coder and Kevin Glass as the almost but not quite racist instigator.
Derek Jones (Brian) & Brennan Pickman-Thoon (Matty). Photo by Clive Walker.
There’s some funny video clips of sensitivebros.com commercials created by Jason Maze, and clever graphic projections by Nick Flory and Maxx Kurzunski. Director Rose Oser gets the most of her cast and allows the dialogue to speak volumes. Jeppson’s perspectives on the power of the internet is spot on. His net is full of ‘brands and hate’. His keen eye blasts the pretense of liberal posturing on male-female struggles. These sensitive bros are two-faced monsters, blissfully unaware of their dualism. #bros is ugly stuff presented in over-the-top satire. I laughed heartily at the comedy, but cringed at the thought that I may be just a little too similar to these male buffoons.
Performances run through November 18, 2017 www.faultlinetheater.com 415.816.3691