Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sex With Strangers (Fringe Review)

Spoilers ahoy!

Two character plays with multiple scenes have a problem maintaining momentum.  Sex With Strangers by Laura Eason has a potential solution to this--simply, the costume and set changes are minimal, and initially non-existent.  More, the characters as written leave us not only interested in what happens next, our interest grows.  More than our interest, our investment because this play is no polemic but rather an exploration of an intense relationship--its birth and perhaps its end.  Certainly it counts as a journey between two writers who meet at a snowbound writer's retreat once winter.  Olivia (Melissa Center) is older, a teacher whose first novel's reception disappointed her so severely she now writes only for herself.  Ethan (Jake Ferree) is a blogger, tech savvy and ambitious, who in fact read Olivia's first book and adored it down to his soul.  They make a believable couple, but more importantly they make a compelling one.

It could have been so easy for this story to portray one or the other as the bad guy.  It doesn't.  Rather it shows how individual issues, decisions, fears, mistakes and even hopes make for a difficult brew.  Humans are like that.  Human connection is like that. 

What I most adore about this production, though, is how the story finishes not at an end, but rather at an unmade decision.  We don't know what will happen next.  We only know a choice will be made.  Not only do we not know what that choice will be, we cannot be sure which choice would be right.  Rather we, like the characters, are left to ponder that question for ourselves.

Sex With Strangers will play Thursday June 13 2019, 6:30 PM, Saturday June 22 2019, 7:00 PM, Wednesday June 26 2019, 12:00 PM, and Sunday June 30 2019, 11:00 AM at the Stephanie Fleury Studio, 5636 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles CA.

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