See This, Not That
It’s easy to get distracted by the plot summary of Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra and miss the brilliance of its commentary on relationships, questions that linger long after the performance: Can you ever truly know another person and what responsibility comes with knowing another’s secrets?
The plot: a couple agree to marry on the condition that they, first, reenact the entirety of their respective sexual histories. To no one’s surprise this sets off a string of alternatively hilarious and horrifying disclosures. In the second act, we time jump and witness the couple’s teenage daughter learning from her parents’ experience.
We told you, don’t get distracted by the plot. The dialogue by Kirk Lynn (of the Austin, Texas based Rude Mechs) is as honest as we’ve seen and we adore him for putting something this compelling and challenging on stage.
Kama Sutra doesn’t have movie and TV stars like The Realistic Joneses, another relationship drama playing down the street in a much bigger theater, but this weekend is your last chance to catch Kama Sutra and Playwrights Horizons is offering discount tickets here.
To be fair, these two shows are not substitutes for one another. An Octoroon is a provocative drama that addresses the historical tragedy of slavery and its vestiges in modern America. Irma La Douce is a silly French musical comedy about a prostitute with an adoring boyfriend, he is also her pimp.
The two productions have some surprising similarities, the male leads each play two characters that fight one another (it’s a funny scene in both shows), there’s a trial that results in a miscarriage of justice until the truth is discovered, and both are based on earlier works, Irma is a revival and Octoroon is a liberal adaption.
An Octoroon is a brilliant, at times daring, play that will enlighten and disturb you. Regarding Irma La Douce, all you need to know, is Charles Isherwood, a critic at the New York Times, nicknamed himself “Charles-Le-Bored-Senseless” at intermission.
Les Miserables, the epic musical by Cameron Mackintosh, is enjoying a successful revival in New York City right now.
But there’s epic and then there’s EPIC.
If you want something truly colossal, something that spans more than Les Miz’s decades of plot and three hour run time, the entire Bible is available to you at The Mysteries at The Flea Theater, clocking in at 6 hours, including two extended intermissions during which the cast serves dinner and dessert.
The Mysteries starts with the Creation and ends with Judgment Day. It is the invention of director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar and incorporates scenes from 48 playwrights and 54 actors. As with any piece of marathon theater, some of it is great, some of it not so much, but parts are flat-out brilliant.