Men and women are caught up in a twisted world of sex, lies and seduction in the Generic Theatre Company’s latest production, “The Blue Room.” One after another their stories unfold as they skip from one partner to the next, all expressing deep feelings of love along with physical actions fueled by lust. But the production, directed by sophomore Jared Mercier, is not only about sex.
“Sex is power,” said Mercier, who takes his first stab at directing in the play, “Sexual relations are about power, who has it and why they have it.”
“The Blue Room” focuses more on human interactions and power struggles that exist between the principal characters than on the actual act. The theme is not just a portrayal of sexuality, but rather of people’s perceptions and the way “we romanticize our actions when they aren’t romantic at all,” Mercier said in an interview before a dress rehearsal Tuesday night.
“The Blue Room” is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s “Reigen” (1900), which features a series of sexual scenes. The play was adapted later by David Hare and made into the French film La Ronde in 1953.
Mercier said his version of the play is “somewhere in between the original and the adaptation.” While the original play featured 10 actors performing 10 roles, the adaptation by Hare uses two actors playing five roles each. The Generic Theatre production is compromised of six performers.
With the production’s minimalist sets, props and technical elements, the show depends mainly on the actors and their portrayals of the varying emotions of their characters. Of the ensemble, the three female performers provide especially unique and engaging spectacles.
Freshman and newcomer to Generic Theatre Allison Mazer gives two great performances, first as a prostitute and later as a French au pair. In both roles, Mazer plays her characters as deceivingly innocent yet wholly seductive, and gives a realistic performance that seems more fitting for film than the stage.
Sophomore theatre major Alicia Trider doubles up as the cheating wife of a politician and a young model addicted to drugs. She plays off the idealism of her politician husband, played by Austin Myerson, with both guilt and a humorous aloofness. As a model, Trider appears submissive at first but comes out as the powerful one. Dorothy Cascerceri, in her second Generic Theatre production, plays an actress who controls the power in both her scenes, coming across as seductive and manipulative.
Freshman David Brown gives the most impressive male performance. As the arrogant and talented playwright, Brown engages both his audience and his temptresses, before completely revamping his persona to become a naive young aristocrat. Brown performs well in both roles by keeping them unique and exclusive of each other.
“The Blue Room” takes full advantage of the versatility of its characters and performers to create a show that works. The 10 short scenes portray the parts of people’s lives rarely talked about but revealing of their powers and perceptions. Playgoers looking for nothing more than sex would be better suited watching something from the back of Tower Video. “The Blue Room” offers much more with an intriguing story and appealing performances.
“The Blue Room” plays Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at Lisner Downstage.