Volume 78 / Number 7 - July 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Stitching up a torn relationship

Through August 2
Wild Project
195 E. Third St.
$45, $10 students day of show
212-352-3101, stitchingtheplay.com

By Adrienne Urbanski

“Stiching” is remarkable for its astonishingly honest depiction of human sexuality and the constant contradiction of the male desire for both purity and depravity.

The play opens in the middle of a volatile argument, in which a couple, Simon (Gian-Murray Gianino) and Abby (Meital Dohan), are at one another’s throats over an unplanned pregnancy, debating whether or not they should keep it. They leap, kick and shout their way across the very authentic studio apartment stage, cutting each other down over alleged promiscuity.

Both characters, apparently, have had a number of flings, one-night stands and hook-ups, cheating on one another with reckless disregard. Their relationship, previous to the pregnancy, consisted of childlike games and role-playing, hating and loving one another. Finally, mid-fight, no longer able to communicate verbally, the couple takes out pens and paper to pass scrawled notes.

Simon suggests to Abby that her infidelity raises the likelihood that the child isn’t even his. Abby responds that that is impossible, because unlike him, she always uses protection. The possibility of a child forces both of them to mature and take their relationship to a more responsible level. Instead, they slip deeper into the world of role-playing, taking great care and time to act out a sexual fantasy.

The play then breaks into a series of nonlinear scenes showing both the present scene, the disastrous future and the unwanted pregnancy of the past.

Meital Dohan, a well known icon in her native Israel, is no stranger to portraying sexual depraved characters, having held a long term stint as a sexy rabbinical student on the TV show “Weeds” as familiar with strap-ons and whips as she is with as the Torah. Here, unlike in “Weeds,” her sexuality is used less for comedic effect, authentically depicting the unease and disillusionment present when attempting to maintain a vastly flawed relationship. Appearance-wise, her character is every bit the sex kitten, from her Marilyn Monroe dyed blonde hair, to her skintight t-shirt dress, to the smears of ruby red lipstick and black eyeliner across her face, evoking the sense that Abby has always just climbed out of bed.

Gian-Murray Gianno’s Simon is strong on masculine aggression, conveying a constant desire to conquer and possess Abby’s body. He informs her of wanting a virgin and a whore at the same, desiring Abby to dress as a virginal school girl and an experienced call girl all at once, telling her of a heterosexual man’s secret desire to corrupt a young girl. He remains aggressive throughout the work, asking Abby to relinquish more of her power and control than she wishes to, only finally showing vulnerability in the end towards the question of their child, suddenly faced with the realization that their coupling has gone beyond passion and sexual gratification, into the realm of sadness and disaster. His real care and love for Abby are only truly revealed in a monologue delivered to the audience.

While “Stitching” may not reach the heights of shock value is aspires to, it effectively depicts the corruption and power plays present throughout human sexuality, and the often nebulous balance between love and lust in any relationship.

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