Thursday, May 10, 2007

sex &

Last Saturday I went to see Icarus Falling's production of sex &

To my surprise, I rather passionately disliked the script. It ought to have been my kind of play. I greatly enjoy shows that are non-linear and are experimental in the storytelling. It's a style that Icarus Falling does well and they're one of the few groups who ever does them. The play also deals with some interesting concepts: Internet addiction, sex addiction, loss of privacy, and the dangers of all of the above. It addresses such modern elements as people disguising their identities online, the loss of boundaries when we share too much personal information for all the world to see, and the substitution of an easy, unseen sexuality for the greater challenge of maintaining a passionate sexuality in a long-term face-to-face relationship.

All of these elements could lend themselves to theatricality and fascinating discussions. They're certainly ideas that are worthy of exploring and experimenting with on live stages. Icarus Falling did an excellent job of bringing out the theatrical elements of this script by using electronic sculptures, projections, and audience interaction in the space they've been loaned by

However, this script fails in its undertaking because it is pretentious and arrogant. The playwright is too fond of his own voice and mashes words together with an utter disregard for whether they make sense or communicate. If he liked the sound of it, then he threw it in.

I'll confess that my reaction to the script went from a lukewarm dislike to the passionate dislike when I read the playwright's own Web site and his screed against anyone whose attitude toward sexuality was different from his own. For all that his play addresses the dangers of sharing too much of their sexual nature with strangers, he is equally scornful of monogamous intimacy, writing off those who have different views than his own as being repressed and victims of the church.

There are those who still prefer their intimacy to be intimate. The fact that no stranger knows what goes on inside their bedrooms doesn't mean that they are repressed or frigid. It might mean that the intensity is so great that there isn't room for anyone but the two people involved--no matter how dull the couple might look from the outside.

There was a great amount of talent in both the acting and the technical achievements of this show. However, they were wasted on a script that is nothing more than a playwright's public masturbation.

1 comment:

Joe W said...

WOW!! A bit harsh: "nothing more than a playwright's public masturbation".

Still, if the cap fits! But if that's all it was, it was a difficult way to go about it. The play was in development over five years. It had workshops with different professional directors, and an initial public season under a different title: "Of Sex and Violets and the Death of Culture"; later, a directed rehearsed reading with public scrutiny and actors and audience to make suggestions on its direction; considerable research into the various topics (most of which you identified as being part of the "masturbation"); and the most difficult aspect being the theatrical style. The first version received criticism for being too dry with its pure "alienation" effect ... and "the web doesn't signal the end of culture" wrote the Reviewer. Other simpler works were written in the meantime over two or three years before the version close to the Lansig one was presented. A total paying audience in the vicinity of 700 people attended and offered various forms of feed back. My web site writing was a kind of thinking aloud about theatre purpose and practice ... not about the content of monogomy or most of the other areas dealt with in the play. A more careful reading of the two articles that were written at that time deal more with the questions of concern for theatre when it gets edgy in the sexual sense.

... a tough road for a masturbator!

I only just read your review and I was left wondering what I had written to spark such outrage from you. Ironically, most of my intent in writing the work dealt with "privacy" and the need to personally and culturally protect it; this at time when so much is being eroded.

Formwise, it was an attempt to wed the approaches of Bertolt Brecht with the theories and inspirations of Antonin Artaud. To this end, my critics much preferred the later work, Acting Artaud, which was less strident and more easily recognizable in terms of its theatrical traditions ... Still, some also hated that as well ...

Ah well, C'est la vie. You all have a point. Keep writing. It's great that you and others interested in theatre spend the time to actually put thoughts out there ...

and thanks for at least taking the work seriously and saying what you really thought ...