Richard Greenberg would rather have you ask: whatever happened on Sheriff Street? And here is the spoiler alert for those who have not seen Our Mother’s Brief Affair, starring Linda Lavin at MTC’s Friedman Theatre,: apparently, at one time Julius and Ethel Rosenberg lived on this tiny street on the LES.
The most delicious thing Greenberg has accomplished in OMBA, running through March 6th, is the tantalizing layering of time and memories. The conflation of historic event with personal history is a disappointing flourish. It’s as if he and his heroine, Anna, are seeking the limelight and looking for more drama than this little tale can hold.
Swinging is by definition a casual-about-sex lifestyle.
The Qualms, in its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons through July 12th, (so hurry), presents the tantalizing proposition that switching partners is painless and uncomplicated. That this promise of free love appeals to a couple just starting their marriage suggests that this party will inevitably go awry. (The “preview” is here: http://wp.me/p5jq0w-uh.)
Pulitzer-prize winning playwright, Bruce Norris (for Clybourne Park), is a master of the suburban story. In The Qualms, Chris’ (Jeremy Shamos) reluctant participation in Gary (John Procaccino) and Teri’s (Kate Arrington) sexcapades ultimately puts a damper on the proceedings. Chris and Kristy (Sarah Goldberg) are newly weds, who met their hosts on a vacation last winter, and came by to explore this novel option in their relationship.
The regulars at these soirees, Deb (Donna Lynne Champlin), her beau Ken (Andy Lucien), Regine (Chinasa Oginbuagu) are all, with the exception of the macho “alpha male” Roger (Noah Emmerich), welcoming.
Shamos’ Chris practically twitches with the weight of his discomfort and disapproval. Under Pam MacKinnon’s direction, the ensemble is seductively perfect. Kate Arrington is particularly affecting as the surprising Teri.
There are many types of couples. The Qualms focuses on two: those who swap with impunity and those who just can’t adapt to carefree swinging.
While Kristy appears ready to accept the “polyamourous” lifestyle, Chris remains put-off. He may be right. After all, sex with strangers is unlikely to improve matters in a floundering relationship.
Head on over and join the party. Unlike Chris, you won’t be disappointed.
The Qualms, in its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons through July 12th, presents the tantalizing proposition that swapping is fun and easy. The temptation of free love to a couple just starting their marriage suggests that this party will inevitably go awry.
Relationships are notoriously difficult. Sex with strangers can demarcate the fault lines in even an established union.
There are many phyla in coupledom. The Qualms focuses on two: those who swap and those who don’t. For those who do, swinging is integral to their relationships. For those who don’t, it’s cheating even when both partners agree to try it. Nothing slows a party down like a man with qualms about cheating on his wife.