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    Everything old is nude again

    The fun and sexy "Triptych" sets up a game of romantic musical chairs to explore questions of sexual identity, nudity and obsession from the repressed past to the indulgent present.


    The engaging and thought-provoking play "Triptych" is inspired by a bizarre story that was in the news a couple of years ago, revealing that students at the country's elite colleges were once forced to pose for nude photos, ostensibly for legitimate research purposes. Playwright Richard Willett imagines the trauma that those students must have felt, even though none of them dared refuse.

    Written by: Richard Willett.
    Directed by: Eliza Beckwith.
    Cast: Charles Loffredo, Bill Dobbins, Rebekka Grella, Kate Downing, Randy Ladner, Patricia Randell, Bill McCarty, Heather Grayson, Jonathan Beeler, Jonathan Fluck, J.C. DeVore.
    "Can you imagine if they tried to do the same thing to kids today? They'd rebel!" says one old-timer who went through the experience.

    "Actually, what I think they'd do is spend a year preparing for it and then bring their agent to the shoot," answers a younger character, in an exchange that's a key to the whole play.

    Around this initial idea is woven an elaborate game of romantic musical chairs. The play explores issues of family, gender, sexuality, body awareness and the fascination with nude pictures through the following setup: a gay couple, Bernard (Charles Loffredo) and Carey (Bill Dobbins), split up and Carey decides to try dating a woman (Patricia Randell) while Bernard falls in with a domineering man (Randy Ladner) who makes him his "wife," in the image of a glamour girl from a 1940s movie.

    The title "Triptych" refers, perhaps, to the three principal characters, or the three relationships — boy-boy, boy-girl and boy-pseudo-girl. But it could also refer to a trio of time periods — the earlier part of the century, when sex was bottled up but roles were well understood; the sexual revolution, when people became more confused but started to break out of the confines of traditional morality; and the present day, when people are free to explore different identities and even be in a play with all kinds of unapologetically naked people in it. (If the capable cast members mind a little exposure, they don't show it, so to speak.) There are many ideas for your consideration in "Triptych," but the predominant one may simply be, thank goodness for the sexual revolution. We're free at last.

    MARCH 16, 2000

    Reader comments on Triptych:

  • are you the one??   from judy ovey, Apr 2, 2001
  • Pat Randell   from Beau Bridges, May 3, 2001

  • Post a comment on "Triptych"