Gut Reaction

Went to see Jane Anderson’s thought-provoking and funny The Escort last week at The Geffen. The basic storyline is a female gynecologist meets a call girl (“A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar and…” sorry, I couldn’t resist…) and ends up learning where she stands when it comes to her own sexual beliefs and just how open-minded she really is. It makes the audience think, too, presumably, if they’re willing.

I bring it up because in the second act, the call girl did something that made my stomach muscles tighten. No, it didn’t involve sex toys. She asked the gynecologist if she could keep a photo of the doctor’s teenaged son. It didn’t seem in character plus it seemed like a big red flag of a plot point to be used later. Sure enough, it was.

Then even later in the second act, the doctor and her ex-husband got all worked up (again, not in a sex act…) and took a decisive action. My stomach muscles were all in a bunch, the decision seemed forced.

I try and pay attention to my stomach muscles at my own play readings and performances, but it’s harder because I don’t often have the distance that I have when I’m seeing someone else’s play, especially if I’m hearing it for the first time. But seeing Jane’s play – which I liked in spite of my stomach muscle moments, and I’m a huge fan of her work in general – reminded me how important it is to pay attention to my gut reaction.

Hmmm… maybe I can market this as The Playwrights’ Workout: “Build better plays and stronger abs all at the same time…”

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