How honest is too honest? How daring is too daring? These are the provocative – in more ways than one – questions posed by the octet of scenes comprising fuckplays, produced in tandem by Working Man’s Clothes and The Thursday Problem.
fuckplays seeks to push the envelope not so much in terms of audience acceptance, but of the New York theatre scene’s support for edgy material. The idea for this festival originated from Eric Sanders, artistic director of The Thursday Problem. He thought about the places a theatre company could take a festival devoted to exploring an honest, sincere look at the many aspects of sex and sexual life and proposed the idea to colleague Cole Wimpee, one of the journeymen wearing multiple hats (as actor, director, and writer) in the several of the evening’s various short plays.
“Sex isn’t about the act of sex,” Wimpee explained. “It’s about ideas and expectations, the disconnect between the physical act and how it affects people emotionally and mentally.” Though there will be some nudity during the production, he avers that what will stick with the audience are the sexual frankness with which the characters interact. “The most shocking things are not what you see, but what you hear, the emotional things.”
Sanders, a creator and co-producer of fuckplays, thought the idea had an enormous amount of potential. “Porn and sex have merged so much in pop culture,” he said. “This is a topic that inspires a visceral reaction, and we can really go there and push that.” “Off-Off-Broadway is the perfect place for something so intimate,” Sanders, a creator and co-producer of fuckplays said. “This show is not about shoving sex in anyone’s face. We’re about having fun, not offending. We’re merely showing extreme examples of things that happen every day, often in private.”
Jared Culverhouse, an actor and member of Working Man’s Clothes was also excited by the plays “theme” but not at first. “I was reticent initially, he said. But when my immediate answer is no, I start thinking about it, and there’s a little voice in the back of my head going ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ Fear is a great motivator.”
Culverhouse, Sanders, Wimpee, director Isaac Byrne and playwright Bekah Brunstetter joined forces and commissioned entries from more than fifty playwrights to submit a play that somehow communicated what sex means to them. “There’s a broad spectrum of sex in today’s world,” Sanders said. “There were so many diverse, awesome plays.” Culverhouse concurs: “The creative response was breathtaking.” So much so, in fact, that the group upped their total number of plays selected from six to eight. Each play contains two to five characters, and runs anywhere from five to fifteen minutes, addressing such issues as fetishism, submission, and violence.