REVIEW: Burien Actors Theatre’s ‘Sex with Strangers’ not to be missed!
Photos by Michael Brunk
Review by Shelli Park
A play entitled ‘Sex with Strangers’ can be a bit provocative if the subject of sex makes you feel uncomfortable.
Burien Actors Theatre (BAT) is currently running a production of the play, written by Laura Eason, as you may have heard. You may be thrilled at the courage it takes for a small theatre company in a small town to produce a play with such a potentially controversial title. Or you may be offended by the seeing the word sex displayed on advertising all around town.
If you are offended, let me assure you that this play is not pornographic. And while sex figures off-stage, it is a thoughtfully written play about a love affair (yes, there is PG level intimacy), how the world, and technology, is rapidly changing; about having passion for writing, and reading; and about honesty with others, and with oneself, to name a few themes.
The play opens on a scene of a quaint cabin living room. A woman, Olivia (Alexandra Novotny) sits in a large, soft chair reading what looks to be a manuscript and drinking a glass of wine. Her peace is shattered when she hears the crunch of tires on snow, then more crunching as feet approach the door of the cabin. Enter, center stage, the force of nature which threatens to uproot her cozy existence, Ethan (J. Woody Lotts).
Chemistry between characters in a two person production is vital. Lotts and Novotny have plenty of it. Eason’s dialogue is witty and poignant, shooting straight for the tender heart balanced by a very healthy sense of humor. Our actors finesse their parts, bringing them to life. It is easy to identify with the characters.
Lotts is perfect in the role of the e-connected hipster. He is brash, but sensitive. His character is a classic narcissist, but not without heart.
Novotny carries the feeling of a woman nearing middle age who has settled. She barely hides the hope she carries for a different reality.
The journey through this complex relationship is satisfying. Flynn and Larrick partner well to guide their actors with their collective experienced wisdom.
The music, designed by Eric Dickman, delights, adding on-point layers to the production. Albie Clementi’s set is a feat of engineering and sets good tone for the two acts. The only weakness in the production, in my opinion, is Olivia’s costuming. Olivia may have settled in life, but I don’t think she has given up.
Burien Actors Theatre’s production of ‘Sex with Strangers’ is not to be missed. What a gift it is to have great, challenging theater in our town.
UPDATE: The supply of free tickets donated by the Burien UFO Festival has concluded:
GET FREE TICKETS COURTESY BUFO!
Organizers of the Burien UFO Festival (BUFO) – which is taking a sabbatical this year – want to offer our Readers FREE tickets to this great production!
- Friday, February 17, 2017: 8:00 pm – Purchase
- Saturday, February 18, 2017: 8:00 pm – Purchase
- Sunday, February 19, 2017: 2:00 pm – Purchase
- Friday, February 24, 2017: 8:00 pm – Purchase
- Saturday, February 25, 2017: 8:00 pm – Purchase
- Sunday, February 26, 2017: 2:00 pm – Purchase
- Friday, March 3, 2017: 8:00 pm – Purchase
- Saturday, March 4, 2017: 8:00 pm – Purchase
- Sunday, March 5, 2017: 2:00 pm – Purchase
These FREE tickets are courtesy a generous grant to BAT by BUFO Founder/Organizer John White!
You can save $5 off tickets by using this Coupon:
BURIEN ARTS ON EXHIBIT
Also, during this production, BAT will be hosting Burien Arts with an exhibit of photos by the Artful Activists of the Backbone Campaign. The show is called ‘Love Wins.’
The photos feature ordinary people expressing their love and passion for Puget Sound while raising awareness about environmental stewardship.
Sex with Strangers is sponsored by 4Culture and Pickled & Preserved.
THE CAST, DIRECTOR AND DESIGNERS
Co-stage directors Rochelle Flynn and Maggie Larrick direct the talented cast of Alexandra Novotny (Olivia) and J. Woody Lotts (Ethan)
Designers for the show are: Albie Clementi, set; Zanna Paulson, lighting; Cyndi Baumgardner, props; Tucker O’Connor, costumes; and Eric Dickman, sound.
ABOUT BURIEN ACTORS THEATRE
Exciting live theater has been a tradition in Burien since 1955. Incorporated in 1980, Burien Actors Theatre (BAT) has been a leading producer of quality live theater serving residents of the Seattle and south Puget Sound areas.
Burien Actors Theatre gives audiences an intriguing and invigorating theatre experience with unusual and fantastical productions they can’t see on film or see anywhere else. The company’s mission is to treat audiences to productions of the highest artistic integrity that excite, engage and involve both the local and expanding theatrical communities in the Puget Sound region.
BAT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity and operates on revenue from ticket sales, donations, grants, sponsorships and volunteers.
Burien Actors Theatre is located at 14501 4th Avenue SW, Burien, WA 98148: