MOUNTAIN VIEW, NATURAL SUNBATHING, Bailiwick Repertory. It’s a good thing several sexy men lounge about naked for much of Mountain View, Natural Sunbathing because there’s not much else to keep your attention for the production’s 90 minutes. Daniel Kipp’s aimless assemblage of bland conversations, part of the Pride Series ’98, is no more a play than a piano tumbling down several flights of stairs is a concerto. At a gay resort in Palm Springs, six men coagulate under the desert sun and chitchat for the first act–about the bar scene, working out, sexual ethics, dinner plans, and just about anything else that comes into their heads. But whatever the topic, it vanishes after a minute or two, with the result that the dialogue reads like a string of unsupported thesis statements. In the middle of the first act one of the characters nods off–indicating just how scintillating this conversation is.
The uncommitted cast barely manages to find the group’s underlying sexual tension, making the second act–when all the tension erupts–particularly unconvincing. By the end, once various men have cheated on their lovers or compromised their personal beliefs, we’ve learned that sex without love can make people feel bad and “different people are gay in different ways.” Next year keep the nudity and cut the dialogue. –Justin Hayford