Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Connecting with "The Blue Room"

Let's talk about sex. At it's very basic, it's a natural, animal behavior void of any emotion, and intended to populate and grow a species. On the other end of the spectrum, it can be associated with powerful emotions, complex situations and afterthoughts.

In "The Blue Room," moral standards and social expectations that come along with sex are examined through the lives of 10 individuals all engaged in a chain of sexual encounters. The 90-minute play and its topic couldn't be more relevant today, with so many headlines of infidelity in the news. While most of us may be quick to judge when we read these headlines, "The Blue Room" questions traditional beliefs and ideals when it comes to sex, gender, social status, and the L-word: Love. (Pictured: Christian Anderson & Christina Dow in "The Blue Room")

Directed by Elina de Santos, the cast of two (Christina Dow and Christian Anderson) put on a brave performance. Aside from simulating sexual acts and stripping naked before a live audience (clever lighting and blocking hide most of their nakedness, but believe me - they're naked!), the actors must slip in and out of five different characters each, ranging from the average blue collar worker, to public and government figures. All of the female roles are played by Dow, and all of the male roles by Anderson.

The audience experience is somewhat of a roller-coaster ride as you witness each couple's encounter. As the tension and discomfort rises among the audience leading up to that moment when the characters embrace each other to do the "deed," a bit of humor is thrown into the mix and you can feel the audience relax a little bit more. At the end, you don't really despise any of the characters for what they've done. Instead, you realize that what lies beneath these rendez-vous is as natural and human as the act itself. That is the desire and need to connect with another human being.

My expectation coming into this experience was that there would be moments of uneasiness, and there certainly were. But one of the things that I do appreciate about seeing a good play is its ability to cause me to re-think some of my personal beliefs and stereotypes, even if it does make me a little uncomfortable. At the very least, the sex was good, and Anderson and Dow are to be applauded for taking on the challenges.

"The Blue Room" is currently playing at The Odyssey Theatre now through May 2nd.   Tickets are $30 and may be purchased by phone (310-477-2055) or online:


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