Virgins and Other Myths | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Virgins and Other Myths

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VIRGINS AND OTHER MYTHS, Bailiwick Repertory. In 80 minutes actor Darren Stephens covers a lot of emotional territory, finding immediate entry into Colin Martin's autobiographical one-man play, a lacerating look at a gay man's very haphazard coming-out. Donning multiple costumes and voices, Stephens immerses himself in Martin's saga, passionately moving through schoolboy sex, an attempt at suicide, thespian gambits, and a brief football career.

But even after Martin discovers sex (and its many abuses), kissing is not in the picture. A career as an expensive call boy doesn't help. Soon he's a sex addict ("There is nothing like the familiarity of a strange body"), but throughout these changes he cannot recall when or how he lost his virginity. When he does recover a memory, cliched breakthrough or not it opens him to "having sex without hurting and hurting without having sex." Now that sex is a choice, he can date and even kiss.

David Zak directs with scrupulous sensitivity to mood and detail. An actor who grows with every role, Stephens becomes with equal ease Colin's detached mother, crabbed schoolteacher, and the sadist who claims him in a cinema in Harvard Square; his authenticity is reminiscent of David Drake in The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me. It may be theater as therapy, but Virgins and Other Myths tries hard to make sense of some painful confusions. --Lawrence Bommer

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