Now, in this Camelot Artists production, Kearns directs the prodigiously talented Jimmy Shaw in the role he performed worldwide for almost a decade.
Shaw's Christopher, a small-town Kentucky boy who moved to Los Angeles with his youthful lover several hard and harrowing years ago, is oddly reminiscent of Blanche DuBois, boiled hard and cracked open for public consumption. However, Christopher expects no kindness from strangers. Indeed, he exploits them for his very survival, but his is an empty and soulless round that will prove unendurable.
Initially, one might have some trepidations that this mid-1980s play would have become as obsolete as the phone sex trade, a "calling" -- no pun intended -- that has long since gone online. Those fears are groundless. If anything, the subject matter is as resonant and timely as ever, and the explicit sexual references are couched in terms of such vaulting poeticism that they are more lyrical than salacious.
The play remains set in 1985, a time when the AIDS epidemic had sent many of the young gay men in Christopher's ravaged generation underground, looking for love in soulless and antiseptic encounters with "dream men" like himself. Christopher's struggles and galvanizing final epiphany constitute a cathartic scenario, as emotionally immediate as it is retrospectively terrifying.
Sadly, Pickett, the play's author, died of AIDS in 1994. Undiminished in power, "Dream Man" is an enduring testament to a talent cut short.