Donkey Punch

DonkeyPunch4_HunterCanningDefinition “Donkey Punch”: when a guy is having anal sex with a girl and just before he climaxes he punches her in the back of the head so that she tenses up which makes his orgasm better.  If this term wasn’t in your sex glossary, don’t feel like a prude.  Even sexually motivated Kareena (Cleo Gray) isn’t familiar with the technique when she pushes an online hook-up castoff onto her reluctant roommate Sam (Lauren Dortch-Crozier). Kareena is full of advice.  “You’re a strong and independent woman. You should have a dildo,” she tells Sam.  “Better health insurance would be nice,” Sam quips.  This is the tone of Donkey Punch.  Through humor and a bit of drama, playwright Micheline Auger examines the incompatibility of love and sex – or the fact that these two basic human needs don’t always work in tandem as the idealists would have it.  Ms. Auger doesn’t try to give us answers or analysis, and therein she may be onto something.

Kareena has been around the block and around the internet.  She had a virtual affair with Kyle (Jon McCormick), the soft-core porn-horror – or soft, horror-porn…core filmmaker whose movie Donkey Punch is wanted by Pay-per-View.  Kyle might have been Kareena’s next real boyfriend, had she not chosen Teddy (Micheal Drew).  Teddy is the nice guy, so organized, a girl should be happy to find.  Only problem is, Kareena and Teddy aren’t having sex, at least, not anymore.

It is perhaps that Sam is feeling like a third wheel since Teddy moved in with them that she finally agrees to a blind date with pornographer Kyle. Her recent track record with men hasn’t been so good with the guy with funny nose hairs and the guy who kissed with his eyes open.  Sam and Kyle’s first meeting at the Central Park Zoo is funny as they trade one-liners.  Kyle is an assertive dude who wears black faux-leather skin tight pants.

With Kyle, Sam leaves her frizzy brown hair and baggy clothes and blossoms into a brassy blonde with form fitting, glittery dresses and fake boobs.  When she visits Kareena and Teddy in her new persona, Kareena grills her about her off-the-missionary sex life with Kyle, with a tinge of envy.  Teddy lobs, “You all want men to be sensitive and listen to you–and then pull your hair and spank you in bed.”

Ms. Auger depicts the complexity and contradiction in our sexual behavior.  With all her bravado, Kareena is uncomfortable with Sam’s bold metamorphosis.  The next morning, Kareena and Teddy try to get at why they are in their relationship.  He hoists her up to carry her to the bedroom. Finally, a breakthrough, you expect.  But Kareena stalls.  Teddy goes off to wait for her.  Kareena drinks a few shots.  Do they?  I don’t think so, but it is left to your interpretation.  It seems that Teddy is not alone with intimacy issues.

Months later, Kareena and Teddy still haven’t met Kyle (in person).  Sam and Kyle visit Kareena and Teddy for Christmas.  They screen Sam’s sexually explicit documentary of herself.  Kareena laughs at Sam’s performance, while Teddy’s eyes are glued to the screen.  Teddy and Sam go out to buy ice cream, leaving Kareena and Kyle alone together.  No surprise.  Kyle turns on to Kareena, lingering desire from their unfinished internet sex.  He kisses her between the legs, while Kareena goes with it. During oral sex, Teddy and Sam return.  Before Teddy leaves for good, he bangs (yes, bangs) Kareena in anger.

Director Audrey Alford has put together a tight, perfectly timed production set in an apartment decorated in pastels.  The actors are in their skin with these roles, spot on.  Along with the playwright, Ms. Alford orchestrates a blend of authentic human behavior and levity.

 

Donkey Punch

WITH: Lauren Dortch-Crozier (Sam), Micheal Drew (Teddy), Cleo Gray (Kareena), Jon McCormick (Kyle).

By Micheline Auger; directed by Audrey Alford; sets by Jason Simms; lighting by Mark Hankla; sound by Jacob Subotnick; costumes by Tristan Raines; casting by McKenna Casting; production stage manager, Stephanie Kay Garcia; assistant director/ assistant stage manager, Samantha Turlington; marketing and advertising, Michael Redmond/ Red Rising Marketing; publicity, Ron Lasko/ Spin Cycle; social media, Dominique Hernandez/ Starglass Media. Presented by Ivy Theatre Company. At SoHo Playhouse, 15 Van Dam Street, between Varick Street and 6th Avenue. For tickets, go to www.sohoplayhouse.com or call (212) 691-1555. Through August 31. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

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Elise Marenson

Author: Elise Marenson

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