What do a university student auctioning off her virginity online, a sex robot and an after office function quickie have in common? The same hotel room – all part of the three interlocking stories in LoveSexMoney, written and directed by Kat Sandler, assisted by Tom D’arcy McGee, who was also they play’s dramaturge. I caught the production, part of the Next Stage Festival, at the Factory Theatre Studio last night.
Sandler has a fine ensemble cast: Hannah Barnett-Kemper, Scott Clarkson (both who I know from Alumnae Theatre productions), Gwenlyn Cumyn, Brooke Morgan, Daniel Pagett and Len Silvini. Barnett-Kemper, as Donna the maid, is the through-line character – she has no lines but says a lot, executing scene changes all while blowing bubble gum bubbles, finishing off leftover booze and responding to the physical aftermath of the previous scene. Except for Clarkson’s Simon (the lawyer who’s won the student’s auction), the characters shift in and out of the room – over time – in a way that’s reminiscent of La Ronde.
The play’s title says a lot, but not all, about these stories and the characters contained within them. Love, sex and money all come into play, but the underlying drive is for connection. Intimacy. Even the story about the guy who buys the sex robot, manufactured to look like an ex-girlfriend – the one who got away – isn’t as much about sex or the money it took to buy the robot as it is about needing closeness and knowing that someone cares
As much as these characters – and, let’s face it, people in general – like to think of their interactions in terms of love, sex or money, at the end of the day, they all – we all – just want to know we are loved and maybe even have someone there beside us, arms around us, as we go through life.
I seem to be on a love theme kick at the theatre lately. Then again, so does Next Stage.
You still have a chance to check out this year’s program – today and tomorrow. Drop by Factory Theatre and see for yourself. And while you’re warming up in the heated tent, take a look at the cool toy theatres and marionettes on display – and for sale – by bekky O’Neil.