The Inventor, The Escort, The Photographer, Her Boyfriend and His Girlfriend, written and directed by Matt Morillo, somehow manages to pack small spaces, naked women, sex toys, and a hooker into a small, one-act play.
Taking place in two different New York apartments during a blizzard, the place could best be called eccentric.
Organized into two acts, the first finds a sensitive man named Jeffrey (Jaret Sacry)anxiously awaiting a guest.
As “Fly Me to the Moon” plays, the audience gazes upon the apartment, filled with a miniature tiki bar with two inflatable palm trees and a pair of beach chairs to match. Jeffrey enters stage right in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, obsessively rearranging the items at the bar. His anxiously awaited guest finally arrives: Julia (Jessica Moreno), an escort hired for the night.
Jeffrey proves to be an endearing, thoughtful man who is plagued by low self-esteem. Convinced he’s a freak that no woman would want, he relies on the escort service for companionship and sex. Julia is a sassy cynic who has had an equally lonely life. The two have clever dialogue that showcases both their idiosyncrasies as well as Morillo’s writing prowess.
Though their date begins as strictly business, it soon becomes a night between friends as the two share past intimate experiences and their real names. Instead of focusing on raunchy activities, the two share tender moments and the romance thickens.
The cast of Act I are perfect for their roles. Sacry portrays Jeffrey as a seemingly closeted man with no game. He seems anxious and delivers much of the dialogue haltingly, and it forces the audience to wonder if his halting performance is due to the actor’s nerves or a part of the plot. Nevertheless, Sacry’s performance encourages the audience to root for the unlucky underdog.
Acting opposite of Sacrey, Moreno’s interpretation of a feisty escort is natural and believable. She seems to not really be acting but instead living the part. She delivers her lines with gusto and plays with speech rhythms, often infusing otherwise normal dialogue with laugh-out-loud humor.
A strong contrast to Act One, Act Two centers around the photographer, her boyfriend and his girlfriend. .
Jeffrey Cannata stars as John, a man attempting to deal with his on and off again girlfriend as well as a new love. Isidora Goreshter plays the angry girlfriend Karen while Jenni Halina performs believably as John’s tryst on the side, who also happens to be Karen’s cousin.
As the second act moves along, more and more sex comes into play. Vividly depicting tantalizing sexual acts on stage, director Matt Morillo is obviously not afraid of a little nudity.
Without humor, the play would just be considered glorified pornography, but thanks to funny zingers, the play finds a groove.
At one point, Halina’s Molly performs an “interpretive dance” dressed as a skimpy nurse. Watching ardently, John exclaims, “I totally get the health care message too. You’re not fully covered!”
Unlike the actors of Act One, the cast of Act Two are not as nuanced with their characters, though it seems as if Morillo simply did not flesh out the roles as much. Cannata is loud and assertive while still managing to show a bit of fear around angry women. Goreshter’s Karen is aggressive yet vulnerable as she faces her unfaithful boyfriend. The only two-dimensional character proved to be Molly, who Halina plays with as much emotional variety as a wall. Her role requires complete nudity, so it’s possible the casting directors gave more leeway to acting talent.
Though the first act is far superior than the second, The Inventor, The Escort, The Photographer, Her Boyfriend and His Girlfriend turns out to be a rather enjoyable ride.
It goes to show that sex is not completely void of humor, and can sometimes be the funniest activity of all.
The Inventor, The Escort, The Photographer, Her Boyfriend, and His Girlfriend is playing in The Lounge Theatre through July 8.