Written by Eddie Antar; Directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby
Produced by WorkShop Theater Company
Off Off Broadway, New Short Plays
Runs through 4.12.14
The Jewel Box Theater, 312 West 36th Street
by Shoshana Roberts on 4.10.14
Katie Braden, Amanda Sayle, and Thomas Pennacchini in Full Frontal.
BOTTOM LINE: A conglomerate of talented actors and steamy stories that will turn you on, physically and mentally.
Seats, chairs, beds... I am always looking for a place to sit down whether on a subway, during a work break, or while being wooed. Sitting does not equate to resting though. When I plop my tush down oftentimes I am actively in conversation, anticipating future events, or even simply observing those around me. These characters in Full Frontal are extensions of my own thought process. They listen and pine and critique and kiss and participate in a whole array of activities. Each carefully crafted character tries to choose who they would or would not like in their proximity, but in the immortal words of The Rolling Stones, “You can't always get what you want.” Then again, we don't always know what we want.
The production is comprised of five short plays. First we observe “Perfect Tension” with Laura Darrell and Joe Boover playing high-schoolers in a car together with the specific intention of having sex. With awkwardness and charm the setup aided me in a fun walk down my own memory lane. Next we see “Outside the Box” with female coworkers on their lunch break. The chemistry between Laura Darrell and Amanda Sayle is so spot-on it got me a little hot and bothered. “Border Crossing” comes next with Katie Braden and Thomas Pennacchini playing a couple in a currently sexless marriage. Things heat up on their car ride home while driving a woman (played by Amanda Sayle) with no filter as she talks about her lady parts and bodily functions. With a change of scenery “Unasked Unanswered” puts a private conversation between two businessmen on display while Pennacchini and Boover's characters ride the subway. Last, but certainly not least, is an unexpected and wonderfully dirty monologue performed by Emily Zacharias. She plays a married woman who, upon seeing a young Dominican man on the subway platform, follows him as a result of her subconscious.
As I sat and watched each plot reveal its secrets I became increasingly impressed with the inventive set design. From a car on the road to a train car transitions were not only peppy, but also exposed well thought out ideas. The small details like that are what make the production such a joy to watch. Seeing the actors in different roles is another example of a choice gone right to add to the great conglomerate of awesomeness. Playing multiple characters really puts the diversity of their skill sets on display and it was grand exhibition.
Full Frontal: A Naked Exploration of Sex and Sexuality: the name sounds like a synopsis in itself, but this show offers a lot more than I initially expected. It has a slow start, but once the ball is rolling there's no stopping it; and I didn't want to. After the speed picked up I admit I got a little hot under the collar. The environment was inviting and considering what the actors are up to it was not without cause. Interestingly enough, there is no actual nudity in the production. Writer Eddie Antar, and director Leslie Kincaid Burby, made particularly clever choices in that department. The show reveals emotions and secrets rather than tits and ass.
(Full Frontal: A Naked Exploration of Sex and Sexuality plays at The Jewel Box Theater, 312 West 36th Street, 4th floor, through April 12, 2014. Performances are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7PM; and Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM. Tickets are $15-$18 and are available at www.workshoptheater.org or by calling 866.811.4111.)