Clare Barron

‘You Got Older’ delivers emotional look at family, sex, & cancer

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Late in the play “You Got Older” actor Jim Dachik makes a slight gesture to his neck. That’s where his character has had cancer surgery. The gesture is casual, just something this aging man would do. Yet the slight, silent movement speaks volumes. The touch is freighted with concern about his health, and the desire to conceal that concern from his daughter, Mae (Kelly Dunn) who is seated at the breakfast table across from him. They’d already been through a lot, and it’s all packed in that simple gesture. Clare Barron’s 2014 award-winning drama opens tonight (Thursday, Oct. 18) for a two weekend run in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at Bowling Green State University. Click showtimes and tickets.  When the play opens, Mae has just arrived to spend some time with her father who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Mae is a 30-something woman at a critical point in her life. She was just dumped by her boyfriend who was also her boss so she also lost her job. She’s missing physical intimacy — she knows exactly how long it’s been since she’s had sex — but she’s also suffering from a severe rash on her back stretching to under her breasts. She struggles to keep all this away from her father, who wants to know. They have the kind of relationship where a discussion of toothbrushes erupts into an argument. He seems determined not to let the cancer weaken his involvement with his family. He’s torn between being resigned and defiant. This is captured in what he calls his cancer song, Regina Spektor’s “Firewood,” the song he listens to on the way to treatment. He has Mae listen to it. The song with its opening line “the piano is not firewood yet” and talk about rising “from your cold hospital bed” expresses what he cannot. Alone in her older sister’s former room though never safe from a casual intrusion by her father, Mae has intense visions of a cowboy (Tyler Fugitt), who treats her as property and handles her roughly. In real life, she goes out to the local bar and meets townie Mac (Adam Hensley), who both offers comfort, but is also kind of odd, at once sweet and  creepy. As Dad goes in for treatment, we meet Mae’s siblings — in-charge older sister Hannah (Hope Elizabeth Eiler), the lost in…