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Wednesday, Apr 9 1997

Page 3 of 3

Under Miller's visceral, unpredictable direction, this slice of gay love often eclipses the need for story and approaches pure ritual. When the two men describe seeing each other for the first time, they clap their hands over their eyes and recount the moment in almost pathological detail. "I smell traveling on his body." "His hair is so curly. Curlier than I remembered. I worry I'm not as good-looking as him."

For a time the plot focuses on whether they should fuck each other without a condom (they do and it's hot), but from there the delicate narrative structure begins to collapse into pastiche. They wander round the city horny; they each remember formative childhood events that now affect their sexuality. Miller pours hot wax on McCartney's chest and plants a candle on it; then he squats over it, burning his arms, balls, and hair. Miller's powerful tale of burning down his garage at the age of 11 only to have his father beat him with jumper cables (which McCartney blithely re-enacts on Miller's pink behind), offers a moment of thematic cohesion to Carnal Garage, but by the time McCartney links his desire to be wrapped in plastic with his mother's affair with the local butcher, the variations on transgression feel redundant.

The final image of the two men simply sharing a bottle of water implies a journey coming to an end, but we're still waiting for the departure. Despite the lucid tapestry of movement, props, and language, two charming personalities, and the brave new form of confessional duologue, the piece failed to transcend the pair's private love affair, and create a moving narrative arc. Sometimes the bare-assed truth isn't enough.

-- Carol Lloyd


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