Edmond Chibeau looks at performance and theatre from the avant-garde communication perspective

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Location: Mansfield, Connecticut, United States

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Restoration Comedy by Amy Freed

Priapic Tumescence @ CRT by Edmond Chibeau

Photo credit CRT

Restoration Comedy
By Amy Freed
Director: Dale AJ Rose
Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Nafe Katter Theatre
October 5-15 2006

One shudders to think about the state of sexual excitement and carnal desire that a young person would be in at the end of the vile performance that has been foisted on an unsuspecting public.

Amy Freed’s Restoration Comedy appeals to our most prurient instincts. No woman should be permitted to experience, much less be forced to endure, the excoriating sexuality of this encyclopedia of perversion. It is a veritable psychopathia sexualis.
Restoration Comedy is nothing less than a series of lessons in seduction; a round robin, nay, a daisy chain of moral turpitude.

My colleague Jeremy Collier, in his even handed and well-reasoned treatise on The Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage argued that Theatre should uplift and instruct the audience. Amy Freed’s libidinous attack on human decency offers instruction in the most base forms of sexual dalliance and her conception of uplift has more to do with male hydraulics than spiritual enlightenment.

Amy Freed’s scenes are nothing less than an inventory of the causes of, and the uses for, priapic tumescence.

The actresses use the snap of their fans as a salacious representation of that essential response in men that might be called the “gallant reflex.”

“The only thing they inspire are the sins they represent.”

It would take a theatre-goer of the highest moral fiber to maintain his sexual equipoise in the face of such temptation.

When several actors appeared in nothing but their jock straps, their sculpted bodies glistening with sweat, a woman in the audience covered her mouth and with bulging eyes let out a high pitched whoop. It was obvious that she was appalled by this shameless display of male nudity.

Audience members were equally disturbed when it became obvious that Christopher Hirsh’s codpiece was filled with filthy lucre.

Young people would be hard pressed to keep their minds and legs closed in the face of such temptation. Tongues would wag if this lubricious canard were to open in a carefully regulated community.

After seeing such a work it would be a modest proposal to call for a reinstatement of the Spanish Inquisition; and nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Playwright Amy Freed is not so much the Beard of Avon as the Bawd of the Boards.

Dale AJ Rose, the arbiter elegantiae of this travesty will someday have to face the community’s moral outrage. No good deed goes unpunished. He brought pace and focus to the perverse spectacle presented at the Nafe Katter Theatre.

The off kilter set design by Jung Ae Yoo enhances the absurdity of the work and brings us, not into the 17th Century, but into the post modern world of multiple perspectives. Her lines are bold, clear, and help set the mood of the piece.

Where is Oliver Cromwell when we need him?