Sex and Power On Stage

These weeks Washingtonians are lucky. They have a world premiere of the play Booty Candy at the Woolly Mammouth and the first run of Venus In Fur at the Studio Theater.

The plays are hilarious. They are racous. They are raunchy. They are adult.

The dynamics of being gay and African-American in the south are fully explored in Booty Candy. Scenes with his family and the attitudes of the neighbors are funny and revealing. It’s fascinating to see the dynamic of how being effeminate and black makes for the loss of power in some instances.

It’s also fascinating to see how an older and potentially wiser urban gay male uses the power dynamic in his sexual behavior. Is he bringing harm to the person with whom he is having sex? Is this mutual consent? Is he in control of his feelings or acting out a rage from some past sexual infraction hoisted upon him.

Venus In Fur flips wildly between a current day audition between actor and director and acting out scenes from the book Venus In Furs. The dynamic of power between actor and director is well known and trodded but are we in for a switch of the usual in this play? What is the dynamic between the female performer and the male who holds the position of authority and the ability to give her the job or not?

While watching the acotrs on stage move between these two worlds you laugh a lot. You also ask your self several questions: Who is the masochist and who the sadist? Is this mutual consent? Is she in control of her feelings or acting out a rage from some past sexual infraction hoisted upon him? Best yet, is she Venus and he brought this rage upon his slef?

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