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Theater Shows
Sex with Strangers

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centerstage reviewed this performanceReviewed by Centerstage!Go Chicago!

Venue:
Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614 Map This Place!Map it
Cost:
$20-$73
Tickets:
www.steppenwolf.org

Author
Laura Eason

Company
Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Styles

Related Info:
Official website

Performances
Runs January 20, 2011-May 15, 2011

Friday7:30 p.m.
Saturday3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday2 p.m. (Jan 30 only) 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday7:30 p.m.
Wednesday7:30 p.m.
Thursday7:30 p.m.

Recommended a "Must See" Show

A seductive dissection of fame, intimacy and ambition in the craigslist era, "Sex With Strangers" traces the fraught, swoony affair between a mega-hyped sex-blogger turned memoirist, and a pushing-40 novelist who has never found success to match her talents. Acclaim, orgasms, cash, true love, the chance to write something truly great... the play is gloriously and non-judgmentally about desire. The balance of power between the two leads shifts constantly, but the actors keep their chemistry constantly alive.


reviewed performanceCenterstage Show Review
Reviewer: Zach Freeman
Tuesday Feb 01, 2011

Ethan Strange (Stephen Louis Grush) is a young, self-centered Tucker Max clone with a sex blog-turned-bestseller and a movie deal. Olivia (Sally Murphy) is a bookish writer pushing 40 and working on her second novel, after her first was all but dismissed by critics. The gregarious Ethan and the reserved Olivia meet at a remote bed and breakfast in Michigan and hit it off over a few glasses of wine. Ethan longs to be a “serious” writer and admires Olivia’s more high-brow contribution to the literary world while Olivia is fascinated by the instant fame and success of Ethan’s dirty storytelling.

"Sex with Strangers" is a well-crafted examination of intimacy and connection during a time when we willingly expose much of our personal lives to the world via that little invention called the internet. Mac products are briskly integrated into the show: Ethan constantly checks his iPhone for new messages and laptops are always an arm’s reach away. At one point Olivia demands of Ethan, “Can we just focus on what’s in the room?!” Amidst the flurry of emails, texts, and phone calls that distract us in the midst of our most personal conversations, it’s no small question.

Under the direction of Jessica Thebus, these two superb actors spiritedly work their way through Laura Eason’s script, imbibing their characters with life and filling the show with memorable subtleties. When the hesitant Olivia makes the decision to let Ethan read her latest work after they’ve slept together, we can see how much harder giving up her book is than giving it up was. So, what’s intimacy? What’s personal? And what’s selling out? Eason’s script asks us all these questions and still feels both contemporary and real.

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