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      I Found Her Tied to My Bed
      Photo by Thaddeus Watkins
    Double bind

    Two women's exploration of eroticism, power and danger threatens to careen beyond their control in the seductive, even scary drama "I Found Her Tied to My Bed."


    (Originally reviewed at American Theatre of Actors in 2003.)

    Sometimes a play seduces you with just its title. "I Found Her Tied to My Bed" is one of those titles — such ordinary one-syllable words, plain and undeceptive and yet promising so much more than they say.

    The play itself, by Jeff Tabnick, is the same. It is literally about just what it says it's about, a woman found tied to a bed — someone else's. It's a simple starting point and yet endlessly mysterious. What happened last night? What is she doing here? Who tied her up?

    Written by: Jeff Tabnick.
    Directed by: Marc J. Bertha.
    Cast: Shannon Kirk, Talia Rubel.
    Set design by: Lou Albruzzese.
    Under St. Marks Theater
    94 St. Marks Pl. near 1st Ave.
    March 2 - April 6, 2005

    "I didn't tie you to my bed," says the bed's owner, Beth, feigning disinterest.

    "Then how did I get tied to your bed?" Jan challenges her.

    "You tied yourself to my bed," says Beth.

    "I did not tie myself to your bed!"


    Of course, that settles nothing. These two early-20s working girls — petite, pretty, innocent-looking, and alike enough to be sisters, one looking just a bit more like Winona Rider than the other — will dance sinuously around the topic for the rest of the piece, never admitting everything they know, never saying everything they mean. It's an electric play, crackling with the nervous energy of what's shared but not spoken.

    Taking place mostly behind the closed doors of Beth's small apartment — a refuge from the drudgery of their jobs caring for nursing-home patients in their last years — the two women's conversations, then games, then ever more serious experimentation, careen dizzily into the forbidden. Sexuality and power, fantasy and pain, cruelty and ecstasy swirl around the women's briefly intersecting lives — and the bed where their story started. We sense the thrill of their adventure while fearing the awful outcome that could result as their experiments become more daring and their boundaries expand beyond the apartment walls into their outside life.

    Shannon Kirk as Jan and Talia Rubel as Beth are terrific in roles that start with mere innuendo and implication but soon grow intimate and physical. Their fascination with domination and brutality is all the more striking — more believable, in fact — because of the actresses' seemingly unimposing and feminine presences. We share their sense of adventure and unease in the world of power. Director Marc J. Bertha and set designer Lou Albruzzese deserve credit for wrapping both the characters and the audience in a cocoonish space in which danger and hormones thicken the air. It's a taut production of a play that exposes the psyches of these women, which are really a dark corner of our own minds.

    DECEMBER 2, 2003

    Reader comments on I Found Her Tied to My Bed:

  • "Tied To My Bed" 2005 revival   from Brad Butler, Mar 6, 2005
  • Subtle and erotic   from Rod Alonzo, Apr 20, 2006

  • Post a comment on "I Found Her Tied to My Bed"