The stage is almost too small at Jewel Box Space, where Alex DeFazio's hauntingly beautiful new play, Radium, is being produced. And this is exactly how it should be. At the opening, six actors (who play five characters) walk to and fro onstage, at times narrowly avoiding bumping into one another. The effect is one of cramped claustrophobia. The inhabitants of DeFazio's world barely have enough room to negotiate their way through life and are incapable of taking a course of action without knocking someone else off his own course. Radium follows the lives of five gay men who fall in and out of love and lust, and break each other's hearts, over the course of a year. We see three different strong relationships form and fall apart, in most cases for no real reason that the characters can understand. They cling to each other desperately but are equally quick to toss away their lovers if they don't fit into the carefully sculpted world they have devised for themselves.
The first thing we see, once the stage has been emptied of bodies bumping into one another seemingly at random, is J. (Bobby Abid) and Alexis (Nathaniel P. Claridad) loudly and graphically having sex. J. cruelly stops their lovemaking before either of them can find release and callously kicks the frail and fragile Alexis out into the night. The difference in their attitudes is as striking as the contrast in their physiques: J. looks as if he were sculpted out of stone, while a strong wind could blow Alexis over.
The human body, and a person's relationship to his physicality, is one of the main subjects of this lyrical and erotically charged play. J. can literally see only himself, and his body is