This Week in Theater
by Rose Desena
Let’s Get it on, or maybe not.
There is no doubt that this is a fabulous title for a play. The minute I saw the press release I said, “self don’t miss this one!” Webster dictionary defines the word savage as “wild and uncultivated, lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings.”
Writer Ian MacAllister-McDonald explores the subject of sex, without restraints, bringing it up close and personal while nudging audiences to question their own behaviors, judgments, and morals. Leaving all of us with a plateful of after-theater conversation.
Hal (Luke Cook) is having some serious issues with his girlfriend Jean (Melissa Paladino) after they stupidly discuss the amount of lovers that they have had before embarking on their monogamous bliss. Hal is just beside himself when he learns that Jean had a few more rolls in the hay than he did. First, Jean needs a lesson in sanity; never admit you had more than 2 even if you’re 70. Men! Hal’s confused and questioning whether he wants to be in a relationship with someone who was so promiscuous…though he himself has a some impressive notches on his belt. Unfortunately there ages are never mentioned, so it’s hard to determine, but I would say late 20’s early 30’s. Heck Hal, some guys would consider her virginal, only 7?
On the other side of this story is Hal’s sexually mature friend, an athletic coach, Clark (Burt Grinstead). Clark is quite the opposite, he and his wife troll websites seeking willing nympho’s to join them and add a little spice to their sex life. So there is the conflict. Although it’s really just Hal’s conflict, and he wants to make everyone miserable about it.
Hal can’t let go of the “number” and constantly baggers Jean about it, slut shaming her. In an inquisitive dialog with his friend Clark, trying to come to terms with the ease and comfort that Clark shares with his wife, Hal decides he’s going to pursue virginal Alice (Melanie Lyons). You’ll want to see how this works out for him.
Clark is so confident and swaggering about his sex life that it almost throws Hal into further turmoil. I wonder if Clark would be so congenial if his wife chose a male to be part of their triangle? I was a little disappointed that MacAllister-McDonald doesn’t go deeper with the whole concept. It was all very vague.
Now, everything seems to be cool in “Clarkviile” until Naomi (T. Lynn Mikeska), one of the third party playmates, gets confused by words that are spoken during a moment of lust with Clark and his wife. Once again we are left with dilemmas. She is a little bent out of shape and disillusioned about what the “threesome” meant. Really sister what did you expect? I wanted to slap her as well.
I loved watching Grinstead in Christopher Shinn’s “Dying City” last season, and his striking charisma is just as vibrant in this production. The casual good-looking cad, who most would say has it all, will win you over even if you hate the character he plays, Clark. Hal is perfectly cast with his preppy look and starched personality. Elina de Santos did a good job directing, she has a way of involving the audience, and it works well here. “The Sexual Life of Savages” is entertaining and pleasurable. Just don’t go expecting any pornographic sex scenes, if you were inclined to want that. Check out my Q and A with Elina de Santos!
THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm through August 16. 2014 at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 South Robertson Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA. Tickets are ($30 – $34). Reservations: 213-761-7061 or online at http://skylighttix.com