Fucking Girls (Frigid Festival 2011)
By Ben Thompson; Directed by Paul Leopold
Read more of Theasy's Frigid reviews here.
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 3.6.11
Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street
BOTTOM LINE: Confused twenty-something male attempts to bed all of his girlfriends as a way to gain sexual confidence and closure in light of a breakup; short on insight and depth, big on laughs.
The plot of Fucking Girls
-- an emotionally immature man revisiting his ex-girlfriends to gain insight over a recent breakup -- is a plot line commonly visited (see: High Fidelity
). However, unlike the aforementioned film, Fucking Girls
is, as the title suggests, more about revisiting exes for literal fucking rather than about gaining closure or emotional redemption. While this makes the work lack both emotional depth and insight towards the uncertain world of modern dating and sexuality, it still packs plenty of laughs.
When James (Jon Bass) is dumped by his long term girlfriend he finds himself uncertain about his romantic future. When his cretinous best friend Mike (Brendan McCarthy) suggests that he partake in a one-night stand to get over his break up, James shoots down the idea, confessing that his last girlfriend was the only women he ever slept with. Apparently, before meeting his most recent ex, James dated a succession of women who, he believes, all lost their virginities to the guy they dated after him, engaging only in chaste relationships with him.
Mike advises James to gain sexual confidence by tracking down all of his ex-girlfriends and sleeping with them. "You must learn to objectify women," he tells James as he encourages the transformation from a sentimental monogamist to a Lothario. James then finds his many exes, all of whom seem to have gone completely nuts since their breakups. Gifted comedic actress Carolyn Gilliam evokes the majority of the play's laughter by successfully playing all of the kooky ex-girlfriends that James attempts to bed during the course of the play.
Among his most bizarre exes are: a pseudo philosophical hippie who comes with her own trio of midget puppets; a virginal feminist activist freshly back from the Peace Corps who meets James's attempts at seduction with blows of a rape whistle and sprays of mace, and a bible-quoting dominatrix with a southern accent who whips James while proclaiming the word of the Lord.
In the end James learns little from revisiting his exes (other than the fact that he seems to solely date basket cases.) The women in the play are all one-sided, over the top caricatures incapable of giving James any insight or arousing any empathy from the audience. Women are shown to be little more than disposable distractions worthy of little more than sexual gratification and laughs.
Playwright Ben Thompson clearly has a knack for comedy, and his potty mouth frat boy quips bring to mind the funniest moments of Judd Apatow films. Director Paul Leopold also makes skillful use of both comic timing and staging, milking every laugh from each joke. While the play offers little in terms of insight or a fresh perspective, it is certainly entertaining.
(Fucking Girls plays at the Kraine Theatre, 85 East 4th Street, through March 6, 2011. Remaining performances are Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:30PM; Saturday, March 5th at 1PM; and Sunday, March 6th at 5:30PM. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students and seniors and can be purchased at smarttix.com. For more festival information visit frigidnewyork.info. For more show info visit fuckinggirlsshow.com.)