Porn onstage: ‘Intimacy’ has a weak plot but plenty of sex scenes

Intimacy
The film’s running and the clothes are coming off — and you’ll see it all in “Intimacy.”
Credit: Monique Carboni

There is no gratuitous sex in Thomas Bradshaw’s “Intimacy,” at the Acorn Theatre. The play’s about pornography — some might argue it is pornography — so the cornucopia of sex is organic. That’s not to say it’s enjoyable, or even sexy.

In fact sex, with a decidedly salacious slant and occasional touch of humor, is just about all there is to “Intimacy.”  There are also a bunch of racist slurs. They seem gratuitous, tacked on to give the play the social relevance it otherwise lacks. Their message is that all of us, even victims of racism, are bigots at heart. “Avenue Q”’s “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” makes the same point with considerably more clarity and wit.

The flimsy plot is not unlike sexploitation cinema. Matthew (Austin Cauldwell), inspired by the likes of Lars Von Trier, wants to be a filmmaker. He realizes that, unlike Von Trier, pornography is his true calling. He finds a creative partner in nubile young Janet (Ella Dershowitz), the porn star next door, whose parents (Laura Esterman and Daniel Gerrol) support her career choice and give her pointers on portraying more realistic orgasms. The film is supposed to be all frottage (i.e., cast members achieve sexual gratification while remaining clothed) but devolves into the real McCoy, which is shared with the audience in close-ups of genitalia in action projected onto a large television.

“Intimacy” appears to be targeting two groups: those who prefer pornography that turns you off rather than on, and those who can’t afford Internet service but can afford a theater ticket. In any event, it’s not for the faint of heart.

‘Intimacy’
Through March 8
Acorn Theatre
410 W. 42nd St.
$25-$65, 212-714-2442
www.theatrerow.org


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