Evelyn @ 'Lured' - a timely reflection

What’s it about?

A graphic play about a real-life attack on a gay man in St. Petersburg, Russia.

My experience.

After venturing through Manhattan’s slippery tundra of snow and slush, I arrived at the theatre with an open mind as to how this show would play out. When I researched the show online, the only thing I really got was the fact that it was about gay persecution in Russia. I had been warned that this wasn’t the kind of show I would be used to, so with no other thoughts in my mind, I entered the theatre.

I was greeted by the ushers, who warned me that those with weak stomachs should not enter, as the show was for mature audiences due to the nudity and violence involved. At first I was more intrigued than frightened, but soon I was wildly confused.

Sounds of ominous whirring transitioned into “Uprising” by Muse. The set's very bare walls in a very dull color scheme looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. There was a small Barbie kiddie pool laying on the ground, a chair with a spray-painted dick on it, many empty bottles of liquor, a plunger and a dildo. I was prepared for possibly an avant-garde presentation, but most of all I was ready to be scared.

While I did expect very dark tones, I could not have prepared myself for what I actually experienced while sitting in that theatre. It was a shocking kind of horror. When I walked out of the theatre, I was unsure how to process my feelings on any of it, and the ending did nothing to help the bubbling of confusion I was feeling. I wished that they had added a few more trigger warnings before I went in, because while this show certainly has a very important story to tell, it really was not for the faint of heart. (And when I say specific trigger warnings, I mean for things like homophobic language, nudity, abuse, violence, blood, sexual assault, r*pe and death.)

This reminded me a lot of the Red Scare, which brought up the question of how could people idly stand by and watch atrocities happen? The idea of revenge played over and over in my head during the show, and it couldn’t be a more timely reflection of our current political and social climate. The idea of hatred was the most prominent theme, which led to the play posing these questions:

Is this what society is willing to become? Is this the direction humanity has always been going toward? Can we as people stop this situation from ever becoming our own reality?

The show is definitely something that I haven’t seen before, on stage or anywhere else. It is dark, realistic and unwilling to hide behind any form of lies to try to cover up how awful these actions were. It was gritty and to the point. It showed — in graphic detail — the horror of what happened to those who were persecuted. A very real story told in real time. It’s a very important side of humanity to tell, one that tends not to be shown, but it is a reality that humanity needs to face.


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