Disco Pigs at Ybor's Silver Meteor Gallery is joyful noise

The most stunning drama I've seen in months can be presently found at Ybor City's Silver Meteor Gallery, and if you love art or theater, you'll hurry over and buy a ticket. The play is Enda Walsh's Disco Pigs, the two inspired performers are Dahlia LeGault and Nic Carter, and the subjects are love, friendship, youth, violence, class and loud noise.

Don't be misled by the title: this Irish play isn't really about disco (what Americans would call "techno"), except as a kind of paradise sought by the protagonists, and as for pigs, well, our two heroes' nicknames are "Pig" and "Runt." Their real names, respectively, are Darren and Sinead, and they were born within moments of each other, have been best friends all through childhood, and are just now enjoying their 17th birthday and all it promises. On Kathy Buck's deliberately ugly set — mostly a bare stage whose mottled walls are covered with paint splotches and magazine pages — these characters demonstrate their symbiotic relationship while also revealing the forces that are pulling it apart.

The Silver Meteor is just the right space for this downscale spectacle — its slapdash ambience is perfect for characters who themselves are haphazardly put together, and its intimacy allows us to feel the terrible urgency of their rowdy emotional life. Not since Hat Trick Theatre produced Neil LaBute's Bash here — in 2005 — has this theater been better suited to a play. And seldom has a play here been better directed — Megan Lamasney turns in startlingly powerful work. Think James Joyce and Anthony Burgess meet Quentin Tarantino and The Three Stooges and you might have a sense of what Disco Pigs offers. Or think Spring Awakening on amphetamines.

There's not much of a plot in the traditional sense: mostly Runt (LeGault) and Pig (Carter) just enjoy being 17-year-old-soulmates while they go to discos, get in fights, remember their births or stare out at the sea. Pig fantasizes about having sex with Runt, but she's put off by the thought and reacts negatively when he makes his move. Runt enjoys getting men to come on to her so that Pig can beat them up for presuming. The two share a dialect which isn't always easy to follow — the Silver Meteor program includes a glossary, but you'll still be occasionally confused — and mostly what the two express is an overwhelming energy in search of adequate expression.

What can I say about the spectacularly gifted Dahlia LeGault? This extraordinary talent plays Runt as a shameless, fervent, super-assertive dynamo, deliriously in love with life and youth, and endlessly willing to find joy in her partnership with Pig. Nic Carter as Pig is a giddy, half-conscious, hyper-hormonal hothead, joyously semi-conscious, delighted to be alive. (The only flaw in Carter's performance is his undependable Irish accent.) Intoxicated by each other and by freedom itself, these two dominate the stage and the audience at every moment.

Both are also quite wonderful at suggesting the repressed parts of their personalities, the ones that time and maturity will one day bring to the surface. Carter's Pig shows moments — just moments — of being lost, confused, uncomfortable with himself. And Legault's Runt ever so subtly suggests that a certain lyricism in her soul can't be tapped by crude Pig, and is beginning to search elsewhere for the opportunity to express itself.

As for higher aspirations, both Runt and Pig have one object: disco. Not like John Travolta did in Saturday Night Fever (and, as I said, disco doesn't have the American meaning in this play) but as a kind of otherworldly paradise, the top of the mountain, the perfect end of the road. Where disco exists, one needn't be afraid to dream.

Unlike so many plays at the Silver Meteor over the years, this one is produced by the gallery itself (and its head Michael Murphy). So show the unflappable Murphy that he should keep right on producing: buy your ticket now and take the drive to Ybor to see one of the most unusual — and memorable — plays of this or any season.

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