According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Blue Coyote's Happy Endings

Reviewed by Eric Miles Glover

Blue Coyote Theater Group commissioned a group of playwrights to create 15-minute plays that explore the sex industry. The result is the nine plays that comprise Blue Coyote's Happy Endings and explore the industry from a wide range of genders and sexualities.

Happy Endings offers an assortment of comedic and dramatic fare. The festival of plays follows unrequited love between a patron and a dancer at a disco (Beauty by Blair Fell), the erectile dysfunction of a gigolo (Switch by David Foley), the sexual arousals of a woman scorned (Peep Show by Christine Whitley), and the interior monologues of an artist's model (Whenever You're Ready by John Yearley). The festival also follows the dangers of unprotected sex (AIDS Reveal by Stan Richardson) and an intellectual argument about James Joyce's Finnegans Wake at a nightclub (Yes Yes Yes by David Johnston).

Matthew Freeman's The White Swallow, Brian Fuqua's The Guest, and Boo Killebrew's Pulling Teeth are the highlights of Happy Endings. The White Swallow stages a tryst between a married man (played by Matthew Trumbull) and a male escort (played by David DelGrosso) he hires to fulfill a fetish. The dialogue is clever, and the performances of the actors--Matthew Trumbull in particular--are priceless. The Guest stages the physical and psychic preparations of a gay couple for a male escort with a large endowment. The precision with which Brian Fuqua and F. Dash Vata perform the sum of gay stereotypes is side-splitting.

Last but not least, Pulling Teeth stages the sexual misadventures of the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Mrs. Claus. The highlight is the disclosure of the means through which the Tooth Fairy amasses the quarters she exchanges for teeth. R. Jane Casserly and Phillip Taratula offer comedic, mature, and schizophrenic performances as the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. However, Tracey Gilbert steals the show with a memorable over-the-top performance as Mrs. Claus.

Blue Coyote's Happy Endings neither criticizes nor praises the producers and consumers of the sex industry. Rather, the industry serves as the background for a study of essential human behaviors, including the desires to love and be loved. Though the plays do not appeal to the conservative theatergoer (a couple exited during intermission at the performance I attended), the prescient explorations of human behavior and sexuality--by nine playwrights with unique voices--reflect the desires, experiences, frustrations, and hangups of the everyman and everywoman.

Presented by Blue Coyote Theater Group. Now through March 1, at the Access Theater, 380 Broadway. Tuesdays at 9:00 PM, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM. $18,

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