kyle metzger

“Sexless in the Boroughs” @ IRT Theater

Steve Carell, eat your heart out. (Photography credit to Shani Hadjian)

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).

Sexless in the Boroughs runs until November 3rd. You can purchase tickets here. Also, the show is based on O’Connor’s blog of the same name.

Three Readings and a Holiday: A Conversation with FRESH PRODUCE’d NYC

The denizens of FRESH PRODUCE’d NYC take Labor Day seriously. On Monday night, the group of actors, directors, and writers met for a preliminary reading for their monthly play workshop series. Over 150 artists have collaborated in the series, which began last year. I spoke with artistic director Kyle Metzger about the history of FRESH PRODUCE’d and the process of showcasing new theatre.

Reading a play. Or two. Or three.

How did FRESH PRODUCE’d happen?

FRESH PRODUCE’d actually began last year in May. Actress Riva Di Paola got a bunch of different actors together and started the group, and it began out of a want for opportunities to continue to grow as artists. A chance to work on a new piece every month, a chance to meet other young artists, writers, directors. Riva left to go to LA at the end of 2012, and she created FRESH PRODUCE’d LA out there. Our company, The Glass Eye, then took over FRESH PRODUCE’d NYC as the producing entity. Under our banner, it’s become more about the playwright than ever before and giving the playwright the tools to take it to the next stage.

What is your creative process like? How long are the pieces?

We do a little bit of everything. We’ve had self-contained short plays as short as five minutes, and we’ve done multiple scenes from a longer full length play. It’s really whatever the playwright wants to workshop and what they submit to us.

How can playwrights contact you?

They can email us at, and they can go to The Glass Eye website to find the FRESH PRODUCE’d submission guidelines there.

So you have a reading, a tech, and then a performance every month.

The tech’s the same day.

So it’s a very cabaret kind of style.

One of the best things about the actual performance is because we don’t get to see what the other groups are doing, when we come together it’s so awesome to see different genres done in different ways. We’ve had staged readings done on music stands to full production-ready performances with costumes and props.

When I saw one of your productions last year, I saw a one act where there were vampires and witches and all kinds of phantasmic stuff. What’s the craziest scene you’ve seen so far?

Well last month we had a Hollywood/TMZ retelling of The Scottish Play in which Mr. Mac was covered in spooge. Does that qualify?

I think it definitely qualifies. What would be your advice to audience members coming to see the show?

There’s nothing like it. You will see three completely different pieces. Three totally different voices, and new voices. Voices that New York doesn’t know they should be listening to yet.

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