I’ve been seeing a lot of theater lately, but hadn’t really been impressed by anything. I wasn’t carrying a tune with me when I left a preview of the new Sondheim musical, ROADSHOW, nor was I leaving a theater still thinking about what I’d just seen (THE SEAGULL; A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS) … until tonight, when I saw The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents at The Wild Project.
A little synopsis from the producers: After ten years on tranquillizers, Dora emerges with an adamant sexual hunger that pits her violently against a secret and deviant adult world…not your normal coming of age story; not your everyday sexual awakening.
The play is a beautiful meditation on our relationship — as both individuals and a society — to sexuality and the act of sex, no matter which adjective one uses to describe it. As viewed through the eyes of the protagonist, Dora, it makes you wonder, for a moment, why it’s such an uneasy subject matter between parent and child.
There were several elements of the story that are reminiscent of the 1996 film, Citizen Ruth, (minus the campiness). The play is more like peeling back layers of an onion and not just because of the moral, ethical and political questions that arise, but the sheer emotional levels you go through, as if each scene opens up a trap door to a new depth of feeling.
The production of Sexual Neuroses is elegantly directed by Kristijan Thor. The cast is hard-working and I adored them all, but the two biggest standouts, who make it seem effortless, are Grace Gummer and Max Lodge. Both these young actors have that innate, instinctual acting qualities which allow their power to quietly unfold through their characters. It makes me feel confident both will have big, bright futures ahead of them. And, I’m glad I’ll have the privilege of saying “I saw them when …”
P.S. Based on what I read about the play in NY Magazine, Miss Gummer never had the intention of being on stage, rather she was “doing costume design in Rome.” I hope after this experience she’ll reconsider, or at least pursue both.