Bareback Ink

full-length drama
2m

A mysterious, powerful man commissions an isolated and withdrawn tattoo artist to create a large work of “ink” on the back of his beautiful, restless boy-toy. Greek mythology serves as inspiration for this modern, erotic tale of desire and possession.

"Savagely portrayed... dripping with sexual tension.” - Jed Ryan, Huffington Post

“The Ganymede myth gets a sexy makeover in Bob Bartlett's intimate and intense two-hander. The chemistry between J.Stephen Brantley and Todd Flaherty is indeed electrifying. Enhanced by John Salutz's stunning sound and lighting design, makes the play a sight to behold. David Drake's direction magnifies the poetic intensity of Bartlett's play without overpowering the story with gimmicks. The simplicity of the staging reveals a profoundly complex story.” - Ran Xia, theeasy.com

The Rape and Abduction of Ganymede, our oldest gay myth, has been the subject of artists, writers, and thinkers since classical antiquity. My reading of the myth, as a young man who was just coming out, focused on the myth's confluence of violence and sensuality, of penetration, and the words rape and abduction, which have different meanings today than for the ancient Greeks. But unlike those of Leda or Io, Ganymede’s rape, the eroticized story of a boy stolen from his family, may be man-made. After all, the origins of the myth (in print, Homer’s The Iliad) are hardly homoerotic. Myth, however, evolves to serve us, and Ganymede is no exception. For almost three thousand years we have found divine sanction in his ascension, led by the likes of Theognis, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Auden, Ginsberg, and many others. As we know him today, Ganymede isn’t rejected, like so many of us, by family, by faith, by culture, but selected by none other than the king of the gods, and in my reimagining comes of age with the help of an unlikely mythological outcast, and certainly isn't a victim.

-Bob Bartlett