Saturday, April 19, 2014

Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra **

Playwrights Horizons describes this new play by Kirk Lynn as a "tough-love comedy." So that's what it is? I never would have guessed with all the phony baloney goings on. I could barely get past the play's ridiculous premise -- that Carla (Zoe Sophia Garcia) will not marry Reggie (Chris Stack) unless he agrees to reenact their respective sexual histories "on" each other before they wed. She also does not want Reggie's ex, Tony (short for Antoinette, played by Rebecca Henderson), to be their best man. Got that? Alternating with scenes of these three adults are other ones involving three teenagers -- awkwardly intense Bernie (short for Bernadette, played by Ismenia Mendes);  Sean (Maxx Brawer), a shy boy who has a crush on her; and Cole (Will Pullen), a friend with suspect motives who suggests that Sean use a date-rape drug on her. The party they attend does not turn out well for them. The relationship between the two sets of characters is not revealed until the second act, which takes places 20 years after some, but not all, of the action in act one. The tough love comes then when we learn that it is hard to be a single parent with a teenager. The play is a literal mess as well as a figurative one -- the stage is regularly littered with clothes, books, beer cans, the contents of a purse, etc. for reasons that escaped me. Why two of the three females have boys' nicknames was also a mystery. Any relation the titillating title has to the play is faint and forced. What I was left with was a craving for lasagna, which is mentioned several times during the play. Laura Jellinek's set is appropriately dreary. Emily Rebholz's costumes are apt. Anne Kauffman, whose direction I have enjoyed twice before, does not shine here. Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes including intermission.

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