Ask me what “Sex Ed” is about and I’ll tell you it’s what everyone learns from other kids on the street or, in this case, in the subbasement of a New York City private elementary school. That’s where Suzanne Bachner’s short play is set.
Adam David Steele directs the trio of actors for the guiltless over exaggeration that kids are capable of and that adults typically display in the eyes of kids. Bob Brader plays the highly intense guidance counselor, aptly named Dr. Vice. And while the prospect of teaching male anatomy may cause him to shake like a troll, the ability to pass his cursory lesson off on a group of children (collectively played by the adults in the audience) transforms him into a zealous, self confident and opaque authority figure. But Brader’s nagging presence, as the bad-bad boy Stephen is the pervasive element in this production.
He’s matched by Judy Krause’s lithe transformation from the humorless “Sex Ed” instructor to the curious, uptight girl with a crush on the shy boy, Evan (Danny Wiseman). He’s the “xxy” boy, the kid who everyone makes fun of because he has an extra chromosome. Fortunately, Wiseman plays the role with subtlety, leading to the play’s final poignancy.
Performed as a short skit, “Sex Ed” isn’t quite “Saturday Night Live”, although a couple of biology class diagrams are enough to stir the giggles that turned into out loud laughter the night I saw the show. It all goes to demonstrate that sheer evasion and a little ignorance can go a long way.
The production, performed at the Short Subjects (continued) festival at Where Eagles Dare is contributing its proceeds to Planned Parenthood. PPNYC has a new initiative to ensure sex ed in public schools and a slogan that’s in keeping with the tenor of this show: “We’re going to the principal’s office! Because real sex ed = healthy futures.”
By: Isa Goldberg
Blackbird Studio at Where Eagles Dare
347 West 36th Street (Between 8th & 9th Avenues,13th Floor)