Kitchen Dog Theater will serve a dark-comedy cocktail when it presents the regional premiere of playwright Clare Barron’s You Got Older. The sometimes-raunchy dramedy mixes Mae’s erotic fantasies about an imaginary cowboy carrying a whip and stirs them together with a good measure of grief, creating the powerful story of a young woman falling apart.
Mae’s vivid imagination has the cowboy returning nightly to visit her in her dreams, leading Kitchen Dog to post a content advisory warning on its website.
Tina Parker, Kitchen Dog’s co-artistic director and administrative director, says this play has been on Kitchen Dog’s must-do list for about four years, but the timing has never been quite right. Parker describes Barron as “a master of detailed, honest dialogue."
"I just love that her plays can be quietly devastating and downright hilarious in the same scene," Parker says.
Parker describes one scene that hits the tone of the play. As Mae and her dad sit outside, the dad reflects on his life and in sad bewilderment says, “I’m always itching to go do something else even when I’m in the middle of having a nice moment. It makes me feel guilty.” While they continue sitting, Mae never acknowledges her father’s sadness but continues her own inner monologue about having sex without a condom with her legs over her lover’s shoulders.
And that’s it. No tearful conversation or hug or acknowledgment of any sort. Mae just asks, “Should we go in?”
That scene encapsulates why Parker says this play fits Kitchen Dog’s mission. According to its website, Kitchen Dog seeks to “challenge our moral and social consciences and invite our audiences to be provoked, challenged and amazed.” Begun in 1990 by a group of Southern Methodist University theater graduates, this forward-thinking company of creatives asks the questions, then invites audiences to think about those questions while they laugh.
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Kitchen Dog follows up the regional premiere of You Got Older with two world premieres in a row: Wolf at the Door by Marisela Trevino Orta, which Parker describes as “an evocative Latinx Grimms’ Fairy Tale,” and then Steve Yockey’s latest offering, Reykjavik, which is an intertwining of characters and scenes.
Kitchen Dog performs in temporary space at Trinity River Arts Center. They are in the process of raising money to renovate their new building in the Northern Design District.
“We are over halfway to our goal and hope to be in our new permanent space by the start of our 30th anniversary season in 2020," Parker says.
You Got Older runs through March 10. Tickets start at $20.