Full Length Plays
Sex and Longing
Guy Boyd, Sigourney Weaver
Sex and Longing was produced by Lincoln Center Theatre
(Andre Bishop, Bernard Gerstein, Directors)
at the Cort Theatre in New York City
September 12, 1996 (opened on October 10)
Directed by Garland Wright
Scenic Design by John Arnone
Lighting Design by Brian MacDevitt
Costume Design by Susan Hilferty
Sound Design by John Gromada
Company Manager, Rheba Flegelman, Stage Manager, Dianne Trulock
Sigourney Weaver as LuLu, Jay Goede as Justin, Guy Boyd as Senator Harry McCrea, Dana Ivey as Bridget McCrea, Peter Michael Goetz as Reverend Davidson, Eric Thal as Policeman/Jack/Special Witness
Understudies: Felicity LaFortune, Bill Dawes, Michael Arkin, Cynthia Darlow.
My play Sex and Longing was presented by Lincoln Center Theatre in 1996, at the Cort Theatre on Broadway. It was disliked by most critics. I think audiences often liked parts of it, especially the first two-thirds. Watching the play during its run though, I could feel that I lost the audience during the last third, regardless of the fine work the actors were doing.
The play was conceived as a comic epic and was in three acts. There were two topics really – sex and longing (and sexual addiction), as represented by Lulu and her gay friend Justin, who need sex constantly and have published a coffee table book called “Explicit Photographs of the Last 300 People I Slept With”; and the religious right’s seeming desire to write their rigid, anti-sex morality into law when possible, as represented by Brigid McCrea and the Reverend Davidson, who join forces to use Lulu as an example of moral degradation during a congressional hearing.
The play is not realistically written (Lulu claims to need sex every 15 minutes, and shows up at the Congressional hearing in only a sheet)… but the two themes didn’t merge properly, and the story seemed random in many ways.
I sometimes run into people who say they liked it; but many more didn’t, truthfully, and I’ve chosen not to have it published, because I don’t think the last third of the play works.
New York Stage and Film offered me a week’s workshop to work on a rewritten version in 1997; and though it was valuable, I didn’t solve the problems.
Maybe someday I’ll figure it out. Or maybe I’ll just use certain sections and/or impulses in the play and write something entirely different.
I am proud of some of the scenes; and the actors told me they had a wonderful time playing the play for the audiences, on the whole. Sigourney Weaver was brave and bold and funny in her Promethean portrayal of a sexual rebel; and Dana Ivey was deeply, deeply hilarious as the harsh-minded, judgmental Brigid (and she deserved a Tony, I thought). Peter Michael Goetz was wonderful as the wily Reverend; and Guy Boyd was hilarious as Brigid’s messy, chaotic Senator husband. Eric Thal was sexy and scary as Jack, and funny as the Special Witness. And though I think I would adjust the part of Justin in the writing to make him more of a Robert Downey, Jr. “bad boy,” Jay Goede brought skill and sensitivity to what I did write.
LuLu testifies in congress.
photos by Joan Marcus
Note: the Lincoln Center 1996 production was taped and may be watched at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library with permission.
Cast size: 4 male, 2 female
Rights: The rights to Sex And Longing are not presently available; the author feels the last third of the play does not presently work as written.
Durang wonders about rewriting the play sometime, so if you are a professional theatre who wishes to consider presenting a rewritten version some day, feel free to make inquiries to Mr. Durang’s agent - Patrick Herold, International Creative Management, 40 West 57th Street, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10019. Phone: 212-556-5600 Email: PHerold@icmtalent.com