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The Sex Files: Daughters of the Sexual Revolution

Daughters of the Sexual RevolutionAh the 70’s. Like any decade one grows-up in, it is impossible to truly impart the exact feelings of any period of time just through a few pieces of costuming, a set piece or some music. Dana Leslie Goldstein’s Daughters of the Sexual Revolution tries to give us a feel though of what it was like when sexual mores were looser and people lived for shag carpeting, with this hour and a half one-act set as it is in 1976.

I’m not so sure the “ME” decade plays all that much into the play though. It is slightly important that the action takes place midway in the decade, at the Bicentennial mark; there are a few cultural touchstones and the actions of the actors is informed a bit by the times. But the time and even place of where we are at takes a backseat rather quickly to what is enfolding (as it should in any good play) and we pretty much get embroiled in the lives, loves and sex of the characters here.

The narrative is a strong one, we do keep pretty much interested and the single set serves for quite a few locations. Susanna Frazer’s direction is subtle, there is a bunch of blocking here that could have easily run afoul, but it is all worked out well. As far as the acting, it is top notch too, from every single player, their performances truly lifting the play to a higher ground than I felt the material deserved at times.

It’s not that I didn’t like the play, I did. It just didn’t fire on all pistons for me and I am not sure why that is. Writing about a play with this kind of a title here in this particular column, I’d say there is a fair amount of naughtiness, but nothing overt to make an audience squirm. And what we find as the play unfolds, an underlining suggestion/hint of the precarious unspoken ‘agreement’ one marriage stands on juxtaposed to the obvious perverse power struggle the other is made of, is good writing indeed. But I’d say for whatever reason, I was invested about 85% here…but again that wasn’t from the actors. I think maybe things just went on longer than need be, maybe Daughters could have been better with some trimming.

But let me call-out the actors here. There was Laurie Schroeder as ready-to-break at any moment Judy Prescott (she’s got the most to do here and does it with aplomp); Christine Verleny as Joyce Horowitz, at first seemingly so together, even predatory, but then we find as wounded as anyone else; Alyson Lange plays that pretty much one get-under-your-skin one note of Stacia Horowitz; Michael Selkirk provides as much touching moments as he does subtle comic as Ed Horowitz, probably the wisest character here next to Stacia’s much beleaguered new college boyfriend Simon played by Luke Hofmaier and Greg Oliver Bodine plays a too-assured of himself Dr. Liam Prescott. As I say they are all wonderful.

Were the sexual mores of the 70’s any different really then now? Were they better or worse? I can’t say. We do seem to have a hell of a lot more access to our wanton needs presently and God knows we don’t even have to step out of our house or even out of our bed to get what we want to get us off. But as Daughers of the Sexual Revolution proves, and proves it pretty well, is that if there ever was a sexual revolution we didn’t learn all that much from it.

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