SF Sketchfest Review: SEX aka Weiners and Boobs at Marine’s Memorial Theater, 2/8/13

by Dakin Hardwick on February 12, 2013

179747_10151406907789501_596450947_n-1

The year was 1998. The State, MTV’s highly influential sketch comedy show had just gotten the axe. Three cast members: Joe Lo Truglio, Michael Showalter, and David Wain were asked to if they had a play they could do for a theater festival in New York. They were given a week to write, cast, and rehearse it. The name came first: SEX aka Weiners and Boobs. Because if you are going to title something, that’s about as good as a title can get. Fast forward 15 years, and the good people of Sketchfest managed to put together nearly all of the original cast for an encore performance of this fine piece of theater.

The performance opened with the shows’ writers introducing the show. They informed the crowd that the first rehearsal was at 4 PM the day of the show. In an effort to up the difficulty level of the performance, they added Rob Huebel to the cast, a man that had never done live theater before. Despite the presence of teleprompters, one would have never known that they had only done one or two run throughs in the last 15 years. Huebel started out our proceedings by introducing himself as the artistic director of Sketchfest, and “due to circumstances far too complex to explain,” we began the evening with a Q + A about the play we were about to enjoy. This, of course, was entirely scripted, and hysterical. People were scattered throughout the crowd to ask very specific questions about what happened in the performance that was just about to happen. It was genius.

Then, we made it to the show. The place is Teaneck, NJ. This is a town ruled by local pimp Tad Theaterman, and the main industry in this town is prostitution. In comes the new sheriff, Jack Greenberg. He has one ambition- to rid the town of the sex trade. The problem, of course, is that you can’t rid the town of it’s economy. In a different set of hands, this could have been a beautiful drama that told of class disparity. Instead, this story was written by the team that gave us Wet Hot American Summer, so instead we ended up with a wacky series of sketches that occasionally helped the plot move.

The 8 actors that made up the cast played an average of about 3 characters a piece. We had a narrator in the form of a folksy old timer, as well as an entire city full of prostitutes, gigolos, and the people that use such services. We have a woman that has a distant, alcoholic husband that is forced into a life of prostitution in order to make ends meet, that ends up falling in love with the sheriff. We have a group of kids that spend their allowances in hookers. Seriously, there were more disturbed, down on their luck people than a Harmony Korine film.

Obviously, this wasn’t a drama. Every single scene was filled with jokes upon jokes, hiding inside jokes. The play had all the same surreal sensibilities of The State, only weirder, since they didn’t have to appease any advertisers. The production was so weird and wonderful, it made me wonder what could have happened if they managed a 4th season of the show. The writing was quick, and the managed to indulge in a fair amount of improv, as well as some excellent acting by everyone. And, yes, there was a full on scene from Glengary Glen Ross. Was their any real reason for it? No. Did the actors play great respect to the original source material? Yes, quite so.

This was a wonderful, wonderful performance of an amazing piece of work. It’s a shame that it was one night only, however, I would greatly encourage your local theater group to do their own production of this great piece of surrealist comedy.

 

Read Also:

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: