Sex by Mae West
Prologue Theatre Co.
In the Chicago premiere of this sultry comedy, which prompted its author's arrest in 1926, hard-boiled woman of the night Margy LaMont looks for a way to climb to the top of her profession.
I staged this sly, bawdy comedy promenade style in a historical Chicago mansion: the North Lakeside Cultural Center. Audience members traveled from a rented room in the red-light district on Montreal to a night club in Trinidad to a Westchester estate with the help of environmental interaction with the actors.
Directed by Margo Gray
Performers: Jes Bedwinek, Erin Renee Baumruker, Christopher Chamblee, Stephen Kaiser, Rick Levine, Rebecca Mauldin, Tinuade Oyelowo, DeRante Parker, Nathan Pease, Anne Sheridan Smith, Bradford Stevens, Reginald Vaughn, and Sean Patrick Ward
Scenic and Costume Designer: Carrie Hardin
Lighting Designer: Steven E. Hill
Musical Directer: Jessica Gyori-Eisenberg
Photos by Alix Klingenberg
"The cast inhabits the era like apparitions made flesh." --Urban Coaster review >>
"Sex is an enviable romp through the tantalizing underworld... This use of room changes was fantastic." -- Steadystyle Chicago >>
"This rarely revived 1926 comedy--about a hooker who tries to go straight after falling in love with a naive young businessman--is best remembered today because it earned its author-star, Mae West, eight celebrity-boosting days in the pokey for "corrupting the morals of youth." -- Chicago Reader >>
"...The star of this production is the venue. Generally, i’m not a fan of promenade staging, but Gray has used the sprawling Cultural Center effectively. Audience members get up and move around only a few times to signify a key scene change, and during the transitions, actors keep the momentum going by drunkenly singing in the hallway or flirting with you from the doorways." -- Chicago Theatre Addict >>
"Director Margo Gray has honed the cast to adhere to naturalism, as opposed to the heavily stylized acting of West’s era. It’s a choice that definitely scales the production to the more intimate setting of Gunder Mansion, as well as clarifying and updating the play for a modern audience." -- Chicago Theatre Blog >>