Residents of the Castro are probably familiar with the catchy slogans and harrowing graphics concomitant with the campaign against crystal meth use. Guerrilla Rep's new production, hotshot, taps into that fertile vein, presenting us with a stark glimpse into the lives of three gay men bound by their bad habits, misguided attempts at love, and rampant use of "tina." But rather than presenting us with a bunch of anonymous, ravaged faces like the ones who populate the antidrug ads, the play deftly examines how internalized homophobia and isolation have led to staggering rates of meth addiction in the gay community. The relentless scrutiny and gritty, frenetic pacing lend the show a cinematic aura in fact, its characters are reminiscent of the afflicted users and tweakers in films like Trainspotting and Drugstore Cowboy. The play, written by Terrence Beswick (who researched the topic for years) and directed by John Caldon, is billed as a tragicomedy, so amid the enumeration of societal ills, it refrains from being overly preachy and droll references to circuit parties and seedy Internet hookups walk a fine line between gloom and humor. At any rate, the sensitive manner in which hotshot confronts the stigma around the drug will make it difficult to look at those anti-meth ads in quite the same way.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: April 3. Continues through April 26, 2008