DICK PLAY

written by Jack Bump
directed by David Soul

featuring: Wren Arthur*, Brian Bickerstaff, Mark Leydorf*, Julie Atlas Muz and Barbara Sauerman

Performance Schedule:
November 8th - 18th
Thursday - Saturday 10:00pm
Sundays at 5:30pm
The Club
$15.00

Village Voice Review
Week of November 14 - 20, 2001


SWINGERS! SWINGERS! SWINGERS!

"Dick Play" is another bad taste sex comedy from Jack Bump, the downtown vulgarian who wrote last year's popular, if obscene, "Sport-Fuckers." Whereas "Sport-Fuckers" was a full-blown foray into a world of middle-class, suburban Christian swingers, "Dick Play" mainly involves two couples: one older and more experienced in alternative sex practices ("Viva" and "Victor"), and a pair of newlyweds ("Mona" and "Fred") that the kinky veterans hope to indoctrinate. A fifth character ("Hillary") proves to be the wild card in the equation.
David Soul, who directed "Sport-Fuckers," and is one of New York Theatre Workshop's "usual suspects," will helm the production. The cast includes Wren Arthur, Juli Atlas Muz, Brian Bickerstaff, Mark Leydorf and Barbara Sauermann. Stage manager is Monica Moore.

While "Dick Play" is about sexual mentors and their prospective disciples, it's also about people who see the male sex organ as an object of personal fashion as well as sexual gratification. Various costumes for the penis, as well as colorful strap-ons, will be provided by the production designer, Tanya Bezreh.

Playwright Jack Bump is the "alter libido" of the downtown performance artist Alien Comic, and made his first appearance about six years ago in an Alien Comic show at Dixon Place, alarming the audience with tales of strange sex. He proved to be an "evil twin" of the good-natured Alien Comic. The latter has performed on the downtown scene since the early '80s, staging his unique quick- change extravaganzas of props, masks and costumes. He has also hosted numerous holiday shows at La MaMa and Full Moon shows at P.S. 122. Strangely (or perhaps not), Bump's misanthropic demeanor and rude commentary endeared him to Alien Comic's core audience, and he began turning up more often in his shows. Then he started writing "lewd" plays. Bump's first play, "Whores on the Range," was published by Sock Monkey Press in 1988. A one-act, "Full Moon Super Bowl Tits," debuted in February, 2001 at the Little Theater at Tonic Bar.

"Sport-Fuckers" received two productions at Theater for the New City in 2000, three weeks in June and three weeks in October. The Village Voice (Alexis Sosloski) described "Sport-Fuckers" as "an encomium to suburban
obscenity" and "very funny." The paper subsequently listed it among its Season Highlights for 2000- 2001. HX magazine said, "'Sport- Fuckers' has the naughty feel of a trashy Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey sex movie with (most of) the pretentiousness sheared away. In short: good, clean, dirty fun."

For the record, both Jack Bump and Alien Comic are the performance personae of Tom Murrin, who writes the "Way Off Broadway" stage column for PAPER magazine and, in an earlier incarnation, was one of the first wave of La MaMa playwrights. His plays, "Hung," "Roommates" and "Cock-Strong" were produced at La MaMa in the late '60s. "Cock-Strong," a rock musical staged by John Vacarro's Playhouse of the Ridiculous (and described by the Village Voice as "the opposite of a nightmare"), premiered at La MaMa in 1969 and toured Europe in 1970, with productions in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and London. "Myth (Or Maybe Meth)," a full length play directed by Ed Setrakian, was presented at the Andy Warhol Theater on St. Mark's Place.

Village Voice Review
Week of November 14 - 20, 2001
by Tricia Romano

Ass You Like It

It's as if 100 Savage Love columns have come to life in Dick Play, the new work by Jack Bump at La MaMa. An older, experienced swinger duo, Victor and Viva (Mark Leydorf and Wren Arthur), try to impress their promiscuous ways upon newlyweds Mona and Fred (Julie Atlas Muz and Brian Bickerstaff). The play—like Bump's previous enterprise, Sport-Fuckers—is a curious mix of Betty Crocker '50s chirpiness and lewd behavior. The snappy dialogue is given a perky delivery by the actors (think Reese Witherspoon in Election), but the talk is all phone-sex naughty. Bump sends up every sexual hang-up (homosexuality, anal sex) and cliché (Viva and Victor constantly discuss rubbing ridiculous types of food on their genitals).
Such matter-of-fact sex discussions have a weird effect—talk of bungholes and and cunts desexualizes the characters even as they get "head" onstage or "fuck" with strap-on dildos. The set is bare save for four tables and four chairs and the various dick puppets that Victor gets Fred to wear (they even have a bona fide cockfight between Victor's dog and Fred's pirate outfits).

Central to Dick Play is the notion of ownership between couples. Mona, when first confronted by the possibility of swinging, is uncomfortable because she wants Fred "all to herself." Fred is initially intrigued by an open marriage—that is, until Mona and Viva pick up a sexy brunette, Hillary (Barbara Sauermann), and have a lurid three-way. Dick Play works the same premise over and over, but never brings down the house with its irreverent jokes until midway through Mona's story of the ménage à trois.

After Fred storms offstage in a jealous rage, Mona breaks the fourth wall, sitting down with audience members to finish her story. Bless the nerve of the older man who sat unflinchingly through her descriptions of oral sex ("I sucked her clit!"). The next victim, a younger black man, got in the game himself, responding with "Oh, yeah!" As she ended the triple-X monologue, he did what any guy would do—gave her a high five and a backslap.

2001 page