Some of the dance works well in Generic Male. Much of the other material doesn’t. The two-hander starts off weakly. There’s some audience involvement, only some of which makes sense, followed a bit later by an extended scripted section in which the two performers, Darren Stevenson and Ashley Jones, argue about the placement of chairs. Generic Male explores men’s place in the patriarchy, and this section is about territoriality and conversational dominance, but its approach is obvious and it goes on too long. This show didn’t engage me until several minutes in, when Stevenson launched into a dance that expresses his reaction (or his character’s reaction) to his son’s decision to join the army and go into special ops. Often employing mime, the choreography includes a lovely transition between images of an innocent boy throwing a baseball and an emotionally intense soldier throwing a grenade. This piece ends melodramatically with the soldier’s death — although I understand this as an expression of fear, I still find it melodramatic — but Stevenson’s grace and athleticism are impressive throughout. And the death is followed by the most rewarding choreography of the evening: the two men embrace then, still hugging, spin in circles, lifting one another’s feet off the floor. A bit in which Jones challenges Stevenson to get naked feels superfluous. The text of an awkward father/son conversation about sexual consent feels rotely illustrative rather than exploratory; the ahleticism of the partnering is more rewarding. For me, Generic Male is hit-and-miss, but I enjoyed the sensuality and lyricism of the hits.
At the Waterfront Theatre. Remaining performances on September 14 (6:45 pm), 16 (6:00 pm), and 17 (3:00 pm). Tickets