THE BLOG
10/16/2014 06:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Went to an Orgy Last Saturday Night

Theater Review: SMOKE

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Of course I was a voyeur in the audience in the snug surroundings at the Flea Theater which can make one feel that they might as well be onstage with the characters. That being said, I was Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered by "SMOKE," written by Kim Davies and directed by Tom Costello.

I was Bewitched by the subject matter: the sexual escapades of two people, each looking to fulfill their psychosexual desires through the other, each hoping the other will be the first to "go for it." Like two battling avatars, they game it out. While watching, I felt that the characters were watching themselves, plotting their moves, pitching to win something they were both struggling hard with. Davies and Costello successfully bring us into this world while giving us a peep at the rumpled and neurotic world of an artist we never meet, the man with whom these two characters are deeply connected, and it almost seems are playing out their sexual manias for on some covert level they are both unaware of.

I was Bothered by Madeleine Bundy's portrayal of Julie, the 20-year old college student full of all sorts of sporting strategies. The character was believable, but unfortunately I did not believe the actress, whom I felt was too self-conscious; resolutely letting us know that she was about to do something or say something contrary to the innocent girl she wanted to pretend to be. Right off the bat there was no question she was up to something, and in fact just being there was enough of a message, no need to pretend. Might it have been better if the set-up suggested something more accidental than what was presented? No need to put on the slot machine crazy eyes to let us know that the character is off kilter.

Her counterpart John, played by Stephen Stout, was right on target like a spring in a stapler, successfully keeping the tension just taught enough for each moment to snap out another interesting nuance. He was steady; easy to watch and listen to.

As for Bewildered, I am not so much by the play, but more by the times in which we live...the language of psychosexual games is so much more elaborate than it has ever been.

CORRECTION: This post mistakenly credited the cast's understudies, Ivan Dolido and Adelind Horan.