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Review: Pas a Deux at Studio Theatre

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I’ve always had a lot of guy friends. And, I’ve always been in a relationship—for basically forever. However, after being decidedly and determinedly single for the better part of the last two years, my man friends have really stepped it up to fill in the void.

My handful of tried-and-true male friends are there to make sure I have a guy to drink beer and watch football with, a friend to go to hot yoga with, a shoulder to cry on, a plus-one for cocktail parties, and, most importantly, a partner on the dance floor. They send me flowers on Valentine’s Day, walk on the outside of the street, and they always hold the door open.

So, while my dating life continues to bring dud after unworthy dud, the men in my inner circle (and my Daddy) give me faith that there are amazing, good guys out there—and hopefully some gal has a great guy friend that she can share.

One of these close man-friends is worthy of many accolades, most notably he should be given a hefty reward for having put up with me the longest.  Yes, we’ve known each other since the sixth grade. And I’ve watched him grow up over the course of nearly 15 years and probably driven him crazy along the way.

Once upon a time, he was a far-too-serious-for-middle-school nerd in high-waisted khaki shorts whom I spent time with in swim team, AP Spanish, youth in government, student council, Spanish club, and a wealth of other nerdtivities. When it came time for superlatives, I was voted best dressed, and he was voted most likely to be president and/or dictator of a third world country.

Now, he’s a suave, debonair, very successful foreign policy wonk who shows up to meet me for cocktails in a custom suit, leather briefcase slung over his shoulder, hopping off his Raleigh Clubman bicycle in style.

Our conversations run the gamut—from foreign policy considerations like the never-ending violence in Syria and his latest trip to Indonesia to the hearts he’s breakin’ on OK Cupid.

One thing is for sure, if you had told me at high school graduation that this would be the one person I’d keep in touch with from high school, I would have laughed.

Emily Townley (Elizabeth) and Jens Rasmussen (Tom),  Skin Tight by Gary Henderson. Photo: Scott Suchman
Emily Townley (Elizabeth) and Jens Rasmussen (Tom),
Skin Tight by Gary Henderson. Photo: Scott Suchman

Man-friend and I have many common interests—including enjoying a trip to the theater now and again. So, he was more than willing to join me as my plus one for the media preview of Studio Theatre’s Pas a Deux, two plays from New Zealand and Canada about love, sex, and all the craziness in between.

The first play, Skin Tight by famed New Zealander playwright Gary Henderson, was the story of a married couple set in a farmhouse in New Zealand. The couple looks back on their love—from falling in love in high school to the war to the birth of their now-absent daughter to infidelities and the loss of their farm. The play itself was physically intense, erotic, and violent: There is a knife fetish, a bathtub, and full nudity involved. I was shocked, I laughed, I felt deeply, I enjoyed it immensely.

Jon Odom (Jim) and Alex Mills (James), 2-2 Tango by Daniel MacIvor.. Photo: Scott Suchman
Jon Odom (Jim) and Alex Mills (James), 2-2 Tango by Daniel MacIvor.. Photo: Scott Suchman

The second play, 2-2-Tango by Daniel MacIvor, was, while still sexual, much more light-hearted and humorous, and I was thankful it came next. The play opens and there stand two very attractive, very fit gay men in tuxedos doing the tango. Witty, light-hearted, and clever, the play focuses on their initial attraction, flirtation and hook-up and watches as they assess the potential outcomes of their relationship: boredom, attachment, neediness, break-up, or bliss.

The two plays provide insightful looks into the spectrum of all things love and are both very physical with a lot of movement, a lot of nudity.  I found it unique that they each focus on love along with an inanimate object—a bathtub in Skin Tight and a watermelon in 2-2-Tango—holding a symbolic significance in each piece.

Jon Odom (Jim) and Alex Mills (James), 2-2 Tango by Daniel MacIvor.. Photo: Scott Suchman
Jon Odom (Jim) and Alex Mills (James), 2-2 Tango by Daniel MacIvor.. Photo: Scott Suchman

This double-header is more than worth the trip to the Studio Theatre—even if you live more than a block away.

Pas a Deux is playing at Studio Theater until May 19. Tickets start at $30.

Studio Theatre
1501 14th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
(202) 232-3300

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