Sex in theatre is pretty easy to find. Its absence, on the other hand, is trickier to spot. Colleen O’Connor tackles the subject in her one-woman show Sexless in the Boroughs, now playing at the IRT Theater. Sexless follows O’Connor through her experiences as a 26 year old virgin (or as the program calls it, “the most mythical creature”) in New York City. Her stories include an awkward tumble in sheets stained by a wayward spray tan, a tragic unrequited love for her best friend, and reflections on why and how she has become an “old virgin” in the first place.
The one-woman show, much like Alan Cumming’s solo rendering of Macbeth, does have some extra corporeal assistance. Andrew Davies and Annie Rubino portray different characters in O’Connor’s narrative, including her improv class crush and her painfully honest drama school teacher. Both actors bring endless energy and humor to the different characters they play. Singer/songwriter Dan Emino, as the guitar-playing busker who appears throughout the piece, performs original songs that compliment O’Connor’s narrative. (Bonus points to his sweet cover of Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.”) Jason Fok’s lighting design beautifully captures the more poignant moments, and Kyle Metzger’s direction gives a seamless staging from scene to scene.
Still, O’Connor shines in her performance. In the tradition of clever, awkward comediennes like Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling, O’Connor approaches her material with measured self-depreciation and a knowing smile. She also takes her “plight” of old virginhood and turns it into a funny and frank examination of her life thus far, from embarrassing dates to heartbreaking revelations. Her sincerity rings true throughout her performance, showing a confident performer baring it all on stage (and someday, in the bedroom).