Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alfred Kinsey: A Love Story

photo: Sarah Lambert

Mark Folie's play about famed sex research pioneer Alfred Kinsey takes too long to make itself known: the first act is competent and reasonably entertaining but (despite a non-linear structure) it doesn't seem especially distinctive, covering material that we already know with the emphasis on the scientist's gay affair. Things get far more interesting sonewhere in the second act, as it starts to become apparent that one of the playwright's aims is to gently question what Kinsey may have missed by putting sexuality coldly under a microscope. There are a couple of thought-provoking speeches near the end of the play - one, delivered by a madam who functions in the play like Kinsey's counterpoint, leads us to wonder if shame may be an important component of sexual pleasure. (There's also, unfortunately, a completely misguided video presentation at the end of the play that seems to come out of nowhere and is besides the point) The play isn't entirely successful building to the ideas that it finally presents, but it is at least a play with some ideas. I liked the wit of staging all of the play's action around a bed - the production would have a lot more punch if nearly everything else on stage was thrown out - and all four actors in the ensemble (Jessica Dickey, Wayne Maugans, Carter Roy and Melinda Wade) are excellent.

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