The New York Premiere of AMERICAN SEXY by Trista Baldwin, a brutally honest depiction of four young adults coming to grips with their sexual values, opened Downstairs @ The Flea on Saturday January 29, 2011. The play, which features four actors, Satomi Blair (Lexi), Scott Morse (Andy), Nicky Schmidlein (Jessica) and Ron Washington (Darren), from The Flea’s resident acting company, The Bats, takes a scorching look at sexuality in the digital age and marks the directorial debut of Mia Walker.
When four college students make an unexpected stop at the Grand Canyon on route to Atlantic City, their playful toying and taunting of one another about their sexual longings and hidden feelings for each other creates tension and riffs. Darren is a boldly confident African American stud, who is developing a possible relationship with Jessica, a beautiful, but insecure blonde, who has a strong need for approval from her apparent best friend Lexi, the narcissistic catalyst of the group, and Andy is a good looking romantic with a crush on Lexi, who belittles his purity.
Lexi encourages them to pitch tents and stay overnight at the Canyon, but none of them are quite prepared for the turn of events that the self assured Lexi stirs up. The tale is an engrossingly provocative modern day coming of age drama realistically performed by the bats, who work exceedingly well together. Their performances, although extremely competent, lack the underlying dichotomies to bring the evening to explosive life. Heightened stakes would allow us to feel more deeply for these kids adrift in our perplexing world of peer pressure and relentless media exposure.
Baldwin, however, with AMERICAN SEXY presents a haunting look a college students today and her works bear watching. Her other plays include SAND (Women’s Project), FORGETTING (PlayLabs, Workhaus Collective), CHICKS WITH DICKS and the award winning PATTY RED PANTS. She is currently developing MESUJIKA DOE.
The design team includes Kate Sinclair Foster (set), Joe Chapman (lighting), Katie Hartsoe (costumes), and Colin Whitley (sound).
By: P Christiano ****
AMERICAN SEXY runs January 15 – February 22, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9pm, and Sundays and Mondays at 7pm, with an added performance Tuesday, February 22 at 7pm. (Note: no other performances Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Fridays.) The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal, close to the A/C/E, N/R/Q, 6, J/M/Z and 1 subway lines. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.
Production Photos: Dan Appelgate