Fine porclain is sonorous and translucent, qualities not lost on the creators of SpeakEasy's current production of "Porcelain". Director Steve Maler and Lighting Designer John Malinowski have fashioned a haunting, evocative production of Chay Yew's shocking tragedy about a young Asian homosexual who shoots his while lover to death in a public urinal.
The SpeakEasy production of this British play is so compelling and aesthetically appealing that you don't dwell on the disturbing content. The question for Yew is "why". The answer is meticulously and explicitly extracted from the young man by a court-appointed psychiatrist.
Four actors portray by-standers, police, experts, practitiioners et al, and act as a sort of Green anti-chorus, taunting the man with racial epithets and repeating the gunfire. It's a clever play with smart literary and operatic allusions, but its strength lies within its heart and Maler sticks with the relationships because they are what count dramatically: the young man and his interrogator, the man and his abusive lover ... and the lovely, excruciating confession of the young man's father, who would rather have no son than a gay son.
Bill Mavis gives a rivetting performance as the jaded court psychiatrist. Enoch Chan imbues the young murderer with a sweet vulnerability which allows us to pity him. John Kuntz is grand in all the myriad characters he inhabits --- but his portrayal of the young man's defeated father will break your heart into a thousand pieces.
Bill Mootos is chilling as a sleazy reporter and August Kelly gives a nicely nuanced performance as the doomed lover. Clint E. Ramos' simple set and elegant projections give the play its resonance. J. Hagenbuckle's muted sound effects blend perfectly with Ramos' painterly designs.