Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Hard Bargain Players Hot N Throbbin

By • Oct 18th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to ShowBizRadio discuss the Hard Bargain Player’s production of Hot N Throbbin [MP3 8:30 2.4MB].

Mike: Ok, this is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio. I’m talking with Lisa Kay Morton. So last night you went to see the Hard Bargain Players‘ production of Hot N’ Throbbin. Tell me a little bit about that show.

Lisa Kay: It’s a very unusual context. It definitely deals with what you would call adult themes. The production starts and we have a very long important warnings telling us that it contains profanity, and violence, and gunshots, and sexual content, and partial nudity and strobe lights and smoking. We kind of have an idea that it’s definitely an adult show and that we’re in for a little bit of a ride.

Mike: So this was at the Hard Bargain Theater in the Ampitheater, correct?

Lisa Kay: Right. So this was an outdoor production and this particular show started a run which was going to be the next three weekends in October. A little nippy, but a beautiful setting.

Mike: So dress for the weather just in case.

Lisa Kay: Definitely dress for the weather. The audience there last night all had hats, mittens. Several of them had blankets. It was in the forties so I actually think it got down to 38 last night. So definitely got cold.

Mike: So for the show itself, what was your over all impression of the show. Both the script and the actual performance. What was your gut reaction?

Lisa Kay: Well, I knew that I was in for something different and that’s what it was. It was really very adult themed. My impression was that it was very much like a Jerry Springer show. The playwright took these very adult themes of domestic violence and pornography and tries to weave this story that goes in and out of fantasy and realism. Some of it was done well and some of it I did not think was done well at all. The hard part about this show was the themes are so explicit. We get numb to them very quickly. And unless the playwright and the director are able to compartmentalize these and show us very quickly where realism and the surrealism take place, that transition, it’s very hard to follow the pace of the show.

It’s not necessarily always built in a way that we can follow. And because they’re such strong scenes, we have to pull back things that we don’t normally pull back. So when we have a man who is partially nude through a good part of the beginning of the show, we get immune to that pretty quick. So we need to rely on something else to build the drama. My feeling was it was not a great script. The script got considerably weaker because there was very little change in the plot. The ending was fairly predictable it was just a matter of growing up, how we’re going to play these very intense scenes.

Mike: So you were desensitized pretty quickly to with the sex on stage.

Lisa Kay: Very well put.

Mike: Is that part of what the playwright was trying to say is pornography desensitizes you or is is deeper than that?

Lisa Kay: I think that is one of the key parts of the show. There are several things. A lot of what the playwright wants us to see is we live in a culture where not only are we not only desensitized to obscenity, and obscenity can be all different types of things. We’re predisposed to accept this lack of balance in our life, this lack of balance in our family units, this lack of balance in these violent relationships. We are very often witnesses. This is a strong point to the play. It’s a very strong play. We are very often witnesses to abuse that we just ignore because are we are desensitized to it. We’re surrounded by it.

Mike: How many performers were in the show?

Lisa Kay: This was a cast of six. It dealt with the four, we’ll call them the four real characters. This was a dysfunctional family unit. The principal character, Sherry Santana plays a script writer and she writes pornography, or as she calls it, erotica. And her husband who she has separated from and he is an abusive, violent husband. She has a restraining order against him. And then their two teenage children. What takes the audience in and out of the realism of their scene is these two voices that play “the voice.” A voice over and they actually talk to the characters. The characters hear them.

For example, the voice of the actress Tameka Cruz. She’s actually writing the script for Sharlene the mother. And the voice over is the officers that investigate the crime that takes place as well. He also walks in and out of various scenes playing other characters. So we’re brought back and forth between these two characters. The Voice and the voice over that walk in and out of this reality and the surreality or the surrealism setting.

Mike: Do you think the woman playing the writer was a realistic woman?

Lisa Kay: I think she was a very real character. And I think Sherry Santana did a real wonderful job of putting herself in that position of doing something that is distasteful because she had real goals. She really wanted to take care of her family. I think she tried to anesthetize herself to the dirtiness of what she was doing. The dirtiness that it was distasteful and she kept trying to justify pornography as erotica. It was interesting because I thought there are a lot of people who are very good at language and can justify things that we normally would not justify. And the playwright never gave this character the ability to really justify what she was doing. It was very clear to the character that she really did not think she was creating art.

Mike: She was just in it for the money?

Lisa Kay: I think she was really in it just for the money. The character certainly represents a lot of us. Somebody who went back to school, went through a divorce. And did whatever she could to provide as a single parent for her two children. So it was definitely not driven out of art, but out of need.

Mike: What disturbed you? Just the earliest parts of the show with the male nudity where you got desensitized or the performances or the script itself?

Lisa Kay: I think being disturbed is not a bad thing in theater. I think good theater allows us to examine our emotions and hopefully to experience some of our emotions at a deeper level. The thing that disturbed me probably were not asthetics as much as they were just mechanics. I don’t mind the content of the script. I think that it was good material. It’s just long material. I don’t think the material ever drove itself. I didn’t think there was a great height of a great depth or a great change other than one action item which I won’t give away at the end of the piece.

So I did not think it was worthy of a Pulitzer Prize playwright to write that particular piece. To me it was not a strong piece. And I think it’s very hard to build something that is static and I thought it was a relatively static piece. It was 90 minutes and, like I said, strong content, but you do get fairly desensitized. It’s a set scene so there’s not a change of scene, although there were some really creative changes within the scene that the director implemented.

Mike: Does the show, even though it’s a little dated and not a great ending, but does it still make you sit down and and want to have a conversation about the issues afterwards?

Lisa Kay: Absolutely. They’re strong issues. It stirred up a lot of thought. I think anybody can preview this type of content whether it’s this piece or an article or it’s a Jerry Springer show. This piece is probably a bigger reflection on me than I think it is and that’s what good theatre and good art and good literature does. It makes us examine things and, hopefully, change.

Mike: Ok, well, thank you very much for seeing the show and telling us about it. That’s Hot ‘N’ Throbbin at the Hard Bargain Theater. Hard Bargain Players in Maryland. It’s playing for the next two and a half weekends.

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works nationally and internationally as an opera singer, coach, teacher, conductor and stage director. She is the CEO of Saltnote Stageworks, a non-profit corporation that promotes education & performance opportunities for emerging artists.

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