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    Dirty dancing

    "Jitterbugging: Scenes of Sex in a New Society," adapted from the same original play that inspired "The Blue Room," peeks in on couples in an intriguing game of musical beds.


    The Gershwin Hotel is like a lite version of the artier hostelries (the Royalton, The Hudson) that dot midtown. It's stylish and a little funky and what's more they don't just have art on the wall, they present it in the flesh as they are currently doing with "Jitterbugging: Scenes of Sex in a New Society," which unfolds in the hotel's cozy ballroom. This play depicts the sexual encounters of a handful of recurring characters in and around a New England hotel in 1947.

    Written by: Richard Nelson.
    Directed by: Paul Urcioli.
    Based on "La Ronde" by: Arthur Schnitzler.
    Cast: Cynthia Carrol, Jen Davis, Paul Marcarelli, Douglas Manes.
    Adapted from Arthur Schnitzler's "La Ronde" (the same text the Broadway play "The Blue Room" was based on), "Jitterbugging" isn't lurid or raunchy. Rather, it tastefully examines the roles of desire and intimacy — or the lack thereof — in the close encounters it presents. The play shows the audience the preludes and aftermaths of each coupling (though there's a blackout on stage when characters do the deed).

    The trysts have a myriad of emotional underpinnings. Some of the highlights: a soldier and a prostitute entangle in a way that's practically a confrontation; the same soldier argues with a woman he's picked up at a dance. A man who has a desk job at the hotel clumsily seduces a maid; the same man drives out to the shore with a married woman who has misgivings about their involvement; she is later seen in bed with her husband, pressing him to tell her about the affairs he had before they were married. This man is next seen in a hotel room with a woman whom he has mistaken for somone else.

    The performances are all spot on, especially by the two actresses, Jen Davis (who conveys a commanding disdain in her portrayal of the prostitute) and Cynthia Carroll (poignant as a singer duped into a different kind of performance). Bring a date if you dare — you'll have a lot to talk about afterwards.

    APRIL 25, 2001

    Reader comments on Jitterbugging:

  • Jitterbugging   from Russell Pape, Apr 26, 2001
  • Paul Marcarelli   from Patti, Jun 25, 2004
  • Re: Paul Marcarelli   from , Nov 16, 2005

  • Post a comment on "Jitterbugging"