In I HAVE THIS MANY ***, a new play by New York playwright Mariana Catalina, an unnamed main character struggles with her sexual and social hangups while fending off the unwelcome opinions of a manic ex-lover and a guru-like stranger. These three characters simultaneously know everything and nothing about one another, and the play suggests that the action is nonliteral, occurring on a mental or emotional plane.
The result feels like a dramatization of the Freudian tripartite adapted to contemporary ideals, where a placid, self-realizing id advocates for complete acceptance of the self and indulgence in sexual urges (he says he sometimes masturbates sixteen times a day), and a manic superego is self-destructively concerned with what others think and feel. The ego, in the middle, is an anxious, self-denying mess. Central to the main character’s problems is mistrusted sexual desires, and as such the text is flush with sexual imagery. The strength of the play is its willingness to delve into deeply personal and compromising issues. These are undermined, at times, by overly perspicacious supporting characters who keep telling us exactly what these people’s problems are, bringing subtext to text with the subtlety of a sitcom attempting a quick and simple wrap-up.
[The Iron Factory, 118 Fontain Street] September 10-11, 2017; fringearts.com/event/i-have-this-many