On Your Opening

We’re in the lobby of the Ohio Theatre. It’s the party for the sold out opening of the fuckplays, eight new pieces born from the theme of fucking, as you may have gleaned; rather than, say, “fuck…plays” uttered with a despaired sigh, as in “ugh, fuck, I have to sit through another evening of plays” or a dismissive “fuck plays, who needs ’em?” just to be clear. We chatted with the always-fetching director/filmmaker Sabina Vajraca and her cohort Ali Hanson. Cast members mingled, picking up slices of the cake shaped like a phallus, nibbling chips and crudite. The line for the free (and potent) mojitos was growing. After watching two hours of plays about sex, the crowd was decidedly reserved.

The fuckplays. Not as much simulated fucking as you’d imagine, given the title, but interesting interpretations on the vagaries of sex in the 21st century. Chat room sex? Check. The housewife in search of the elusive “Big O”? Check. Sexually suggestive sausage eating? Check and check. There were a few surprises: Arms and the Octopus, which debunked rather graphically the whole reward of 72 virgins for a suicide bombing thing. Then there’s Wood, about a woman who’s having an affair with a man who’s always hard, and trust us it’s not from Viagra. Why is it with plays about sex, funny always trumps serious? Our companion in blog Jane Gavin wondered what the auditions must’ve been like.

Outside for a smoke we queried playwright/co-producer Eric Sanders, whose potty-mouthed yet oddly touching piece 1.1-1.7 capped the evening, why the opening night revelers weren’t more aroused. We’d expected full on bacchanalia, versus the regular bonhomie. “Sex isn’t always sexy,” he offered. We wanted to press further, but he and director Matthew Hancock were about to do an interview for “Hi-Drama.” The interviewer wondered aloud if she could smoke on camera. We flicked our cigarette butt onto Wooster St. and sidled back inside.

We ran into enthusiastic co-producer Jeffrey Schulman and asked how he became involved. “I like fucking.” Again, we asked why there were no carnal liaisons happening at the after-party. “There are,” he assured us “In the dressing room, the light booth, the basement.” We didn’t necessarily believe him, but we declined to do our due diligence and investigate. How’s the audience response been? “There’s a great energy when people watch the show,”Schulman exclaimed. “It’s an out of body experience.”

The show is only running at the Ohio for the weekend, but has a regular Friday night slot at Galapagos through April. In addition, some of the pieces will perform as part of the popular Smut reading series on Mondays at Galapagos, in an appropriate bit of synchronicity.

We wanted to talk to OBIE Award winner Kyle Jarrow and Amy Lynn Stewart, the actress that fellated a ventriloquist’s dummy, but never got the chance.

The free mojitos had run out by this point. There was beer and wine for sale, but we declined. The crowd had gotten bigger, there were lots of people that we didn’t see the show that night congregating in the large lobby space. We left the theatre, stepping over discarded plastic cups and the three-deep group sitting on the stairs, buoyed by opening night camaraderie.

To the company of fuckplays, we crib a fitting message from a telegram sent to esteemed actress Helen Hayes by the cheeky Tallulah Bankhead: “A warm hand on your opening.”

Remaining shows:
At the Ohio Theatre:
Friday, March 30th at 8pm
Saturday, March 30th at 8pm
Sunday, April 1st at 2pm

At the Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg:
Friday, April 6th at 7:30pm
Friday, April 13th at 7:30pm
Friday, April 20th at 7:30pm
Friday, April 27th at 7:30pm

fuckplays [Working Man’s Clothes]


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