SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL (Plays & Players): 60-second review

“That’s the really insidious thing about drugs… you’re having such a good time you don’t realize what a bad time you’re having.”

Eric Scotolati in SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL. Photo by Rachel Dukeman.

Eric Scotolati in SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL. Photo by Rachel Dukeman.

Those pillars of hedonism—sex, drugs, rock & roll—make cameos in Eric Bogasian’s play of the same name, but the meaning is evident. Bogasian’s revolving cast of characters—an aging rock star, a homeless bottle man, an 80s yuppie, and a handful of others—have little in common except their masculine hedonism. In the updated production at Plays and Players, director Allison Heishman plays down some of Bogasian’s most provocative speech, but there’s enough anger, misogyny, and oblivious privilege to give the audience a clear view of the various characters: they’re assholes, but very recognizable assholes.

Eric Scotolati plays every role in this streamline production (Heishman cuts a few characters and half hour of running time), capturing each with shifts in stance, diction, and costume. Scotolati’s natural likability contrasts nicely with the charismatic unlikability of Bogasian’s creations. There’s little redeeming in any them, and it’s hard to see who or what Bogasian is condemning: hedonism? masculinity? 1980s capitalism? Ah well. It’s only rock and roll, but I like it. [Plays & Players Skinner Studio, 1714 Delancey Place] June 5-21, 2014; playsandplayers.org.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.