By Holli Harms

There is a celebration of the female body going on in the West Village and you’re all invited. Lillian Isabella’s new play How We Love/F*ck is a declaration of joy to every part of our bodies and to our sexual and sensual appetites.

In this difficult and much needed #MeToo time, we forget that women do also enjoy sex, consented sex and that women have a voice in this discussion about how they want to be pleasured, to be treated, to be touched – body and soul touched.

In Rupi Kaur’s beautiful book of poems Milk and Honey she writes:

my heart aches for sisters more than anything
it aches for women helping women
like flowers ache for spring

This play is about women helping and supporting one another. Listening to our stories of good sex and bad sex, about us as sensual beings. It is graphic and honest. Isabella interviewed close to 30 women of all ages and built this play from those interviews. Placing herself in it as the interviewer, she introduces us to many of those women, played with precision, expertise, humor and love by Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand, Tulis Mccall, Greer Morrison, and Nancy Sun. Through monologues and movement, we follow the characters as they detail their relationships of love and sex, their relationships with their bodies and their vaginas. It is hilarious, poignant and heartbreaking. Addressing questions and providing viewpoints on emotional and physical intimacy, obeying desire or squelching it, forbidden sex, masturbation. It is taboo it seems, in all cultures, for women to masturbate, much less discuss it, while men make jokes about it.  Mothers of boys talk openly about it but rarely do mothers of girls.  It is not something discussed nor allowed, although, surprise, we are all doing it.  This play is reverence to female sexuality and to our bodies – a human body endowed with flaws, beauty, drives, thrills, and needs.

The play opens with the women all trying to describe the female orgasm. A cacophony of descriptions, “It’s an explosion, it’s like a sneeze – but better, a realizing of energy, it’s um…” How do you describe something that hopefully we have all experienced but is beyond description? La Petite Mort, the French term for “a little death,” is used to describe the moments after orgasm when we are in a state of melancholy.

So it’s a little death? Ah, the French.

The set is bare, minimal, only what is needed and nothing more. The direction, choreographed by Lorna Ventura, is a water dance and the actors are synchronized swimmers moving as both artists and athletes backstroking through an ocean of self-discovery.

The play is about taking control of our bodies and desires. I left the theatre feeling really good about being a woman.  I was also a little afraid, stemming from my upbringing, as to how to start a conversation with my 6th grader about her body and the pleasures of life, how to make sure that she is safe but also finds enjoyment.  It’s something I need and want to share.

This is an exploration into a country very few have had the chutzpah or even inclination to explore and talk about. You need no hiking boots nor map for this adventure, just a ticket. You can get that at the Cherry Lane.

How We Love/F*ck Written by Lillian Isabella, Directed by Lorna Ventura
Produced by Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand, Edge in Motion Productions

With: Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand, Lillian Isabella*, Tulis Mccall*, Greer Morrison, and Nancy Sun*

Assistant Director: Hannah Hall, Set and Lighting Design by Madeleine Hebert, Sound Designer: Nathanael Brown, Production Stage Manager: Tyler Danhaus, Assistant Stage Manager: Daniel Giannone, Pre-Production Producer: Anna Panova, Understudies: Stand by: Brittany Lee McDonald,
Swing: Erin Richardson

Running Time 90 minutes

September 25 – October 6, 2019 – Tuesday through Saturday at 7pm, Saturday at 3pm, Sundays at 2pm At The Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, NYC NY 10014