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.
By JOSHUA TANZER
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.
"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.
|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.
"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
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|
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