Carol Dines, Clint Gill, Rebecca Henderson, and Sean Childress in Sex Again. Photo-Kevin Robinson
By Heidi Saunders
Directed by Keith McGill
Reviewed by Brian Walker
Entire contents copyright ©2014 by Brian Walker. All rights reserved.
Sex Again is a modern day sex farce that balances naughty humor with astute observations on love and long term relationships. It was a finalist last year in Kentucky Theatre Association’s Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Award and has enjoyed two staged readings in New York. This Louisville production marks the script’s world premiere.
Helen (Carol Dines) and Tom (Sean Childress) are in a sexless marriage. They’ve only been intimate twice in ten years and Helen is tired of it. She’s lost some weight, she’s feeling sexy, and instead of her usual activity of getting lost in her latest romance novel, she wants the real thing and she wants it from her husband. What ensues is comic in presentation while tragic in thought and the entire play can be defined in these duality in realities: comic and tragic, honesty and farce. It’s about two people who love each other very much but have forgotten how to show their feelings to each other. A scheme is hatched by her best friend Roz (Rebecca Henderson) to go to Las Vegas and buy a male prostitute. After a failed attempt by Roz and Tom’s best friend Lou (Clint Gill) to get Helen and Tom hot for each other, it ends horribly and Helen has finally had enough and by the end of Act I is heading to a brothel in Nevada ready to have her fictional fantasies fulfilled by a sex god.
Act II’s resolutions, while satisfying and understandable, sort of came out of nowhere for me other than one mention in Act I. There were instances, specific and hard, that forced these two into separate lives and I would have liked a bit more of that sprinkled throughout the rest of the play and interactions with the two peripheral characters.
The script is very funny and doesn’t hold back or pull any punches. I believed this couple, who they were, their struggles and dynamics. The dialogue between them is the most grounded and believable in the play. However, I went back and forth in being sort of amused and annoyed with their best friends. They felt more like bigger than life caricatures next to the more honed struggles of the two leads.
The space is still bare bones, there’s a new raised stage that I hadn’t seen before which was very nice, sufficient lighting was lacking and it made it difficult to see more nuances in the actor’s faces. It was utilized effectively by Mr. McGill and he successfully filled the stage with his actors and the minimal, but natural set. The curtain separating the actors from the audience is also a challenge and the actors should stay cognizant of the fact that their whispers carry very easily through it.
Carol Dines and Sean Childress do especially strong work in their first and last scene together and were able to convey a quiet yearning through everything going on around them, it was subtle but it was very nice; they supported the text and made it shine.
Ms. Saunders is to be congratulated on doing what many playwrights dream of doing: producing her own work on her own terms and the results are inspiring.
Frog Pump Productions presents
Featuring Carol Dines, Sean Childress, Clint Gill and Rebecca Henderson
1031 South 6th Street
Louisville, KY 40203