In Matthew Lopez’s newest play Reverberation, Jonathan is lonely. So, in a moment straight from the single urbanite playbook, he does what any young, single gay man does these days: He goes onto Grindr.
The stage directions read: “He types a few things, looking for something that Grindr can’t give him in this moment.” For Lopez, the elusive ingredient that web interaction can’t replicate is intimacy.
“We have all manner of technology that is supposed to engender intimacy, but it also in some strange way can also foster isolation,” Lopez says. “If someone from an alien culture saw us, they might conclude we’re the loneliest people in the galaxy—alone in our rooms, typing away.”
Reverberation is set within two apartments, one on top of the other, in Astoria, Queens (where Lopez lived in his 20s), and is about the friendship Jonathan forges, despite his antisocial behavior, with his upstairs neighbor Claire. “What this play is about is people longing to connect. And nothing can substitute for good old-fashioned face-to-face intimacy,” says Lopez. The play premieres at Hartford Stage Feb. 19–March 15, becoming the third Lopez play that Hartford has produced (after The Whipping Man and Somewhere). Lopez now considers the Connecticut theatre his artistic home, and plans to workshop his next play there in 2015.
“What they have provided me over the years is emotional support and financial support—and they also give me courage,” Lopez says. “It’s a kind of relationship that I imagine any writer would dream of having with a theatre.”
You might even call it intimate.