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Fulfillment to Close on October 19

It’s always a sad occasion when a play ends its theatre run. But it’s especially bittersweet when it’s a production whose provocative and stimulating scenes warrant employing the talents of a sex choreographer. Such is the case with Thomas Bradshaw’s Fulfillment, which will be closing at the Flea Theatre on October 19.

The highly controversial play about an up-and-coming Black lawyer confronting the obstacles of alcoholism and potential racism, while learning to handle his sexually adventurous girlfriend, stars Gbenga Akinnagbe in the title role of “Michael.” Michael has a new girlfriend a new, expensive apartment and a seemingly perfect life. However, there are demons in his life that he must overcome in order to truly be “fulfilled.”

Akinnagbe, known for his role as the hitman “Chris Partlow” from HBO’s acclaimed series “The Wire”  has also appeared on stage in the 2013 revival of N. Richard Nash’s classic romantic comedy, The Rainmaker. For his role in Fulfillment, Akinnagbe received raves for his “sensitive, multilayered performance.”

The production also features Otoja Abit, Jeff Biehl, Christian Conn, Denny Dillon, Susannah Flood, and Peter McCabe.

Bradshaw’s plays, including Intimacy and Burning, are notorious for their frequent and graphic occurrences of actors performing simulated sex acts and plots involving rape, incest and sexual slavery, as well as racially-based humor. The same can be found in Fulfillment as the play includes graphic intercourse, erotic spanking, and choking; so much so that it required the aforementioned sex choreographer, Yehuda Duenyas.

Fulfillment opened on September 11 to mixed reviews. The New York Times’ Ben Brantley called it “engaging and unsettling.“ Samuel Leiter of The Broadway Blog praised Ethan McSweeny’s direction but said it “isn’t enough to overcome the characters’ inconsistencies, the episodic plot’s implausibilities, and the sense that its scenes of sex and violence are there merely because that’s what one expects in a Bradshaw play.”

Although Fulfillment is leaving New York, it’s scheduled to open in Chicago at the American Theatre Company to kick off Season 31: The Legacy Season. The play will run November 6-December 13, 2015 under McSweeny’s direction. For tickets and more information, visit here.

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