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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

I F***ed You In My Spaceship

Review by ANTHONY CHASE



It seems that the first thing everyone wants to talk about is the title of Louis Emmitt-Stern’s play, I Fucked You in My Spaceship.

 

Wow! That’s an attention grabber! Why that title?

 

Emmitt-Stern explains that the title came before the play. He is intrigued by enticing titles. Among his favorites are Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking, Tatty Hennessy’s A Great Big Wooly Mammoth Thawing from the Ice, and Sam Steiner’s Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons. The truth is that he thought of the title first, and then devised a play around it.

 

He also likes the title, I Fucked You in My Spaceship, because “fucked you,” has the potential meaning of “I fucked you over,” as in I deceived, tricked, or manipulated you.

 

He began by writing the first scene in which we see a man in a classic 1950s science fiction movie alien costume, penetrating another man who is on all fours. Meet Dan (in the alien costume) and Leo (on the floor).

 

That hilariously shocking opening is just a preliminary.  The complication that the playwright adds to this pretty straightforward, if comical sexual fantasy is the divergent personalities of the participants. We quickly learn that Leo (played by Andrew J. Brown) is the dominant partner and has a very specific fantasy. He wants to recreate a video of a man having sex with an alien in his spaceship. Dan, played by Jason Francey, is the submissive partner, who is not really excited by the fantasy, but is devoted to Leo’s happiness.

 

Frustrated with Dan’s inability to use an adequately soothing voice or to be adequately dominant, Leo suggests that they bring in a third. Dan finds this humiliating, but, desperate to please his lover, he is willing to go along … as long as it’s not someone from their office.  Naturally, that is exactly what Leo had in mind, a specific guy from the office, but he wisely puts this desire aside, when Dan suggests that they advertise for someone. 

 

Enter Al (played by Jeremy Catania), who responds to the advertisement.

 

I Fucked You in My Spaceship is really two thematically linked plays.  We now flip to a parallel situation with an entirely different and unrelated couple. 

 

Anna and Emily want to have a baby. Anna, played by Sandra Roberts, is the dominant partner and has very specific fantasies about how this should unfold. Emily, played by Paige Batt, is more sensitive and nurturing. The plan is for Anna to be inseminated. While this will not be a “threesome” or a polyamorous arrangement, they do want this person, “the father,” to be part of their child’s life.  Candidates for the job of “father” will be interviewed, and naturally Anna takes charge.

 

Enter “Robert,” played by Aaron Gabriel Saldana, who is recruited to provide the sperm and to become part of their lives.

 

As you might anticipate, the addition of a third person into the lives of these couples changes their relationships.  In each instance, the balance of power shifts. The scenario plays out very differently between the two couples.

 

Six fine actors relate these two tales.

 

In couple number one, Andrew J. Brown and Jason Francey travel the reverse trajectories of their characters skillfully.  As Leo, Brown crumbles by increments under the weight of his own self-confidence, Francey, as Dan, drinks in the intoxicating thrill of escalating empowerment.  The two actors seize the framework, so artfully established in the opening scene, to build their characters. 

 

Jeremy Catania is deliciously perfect as the Eve Harrington of this arrangement, charming onstage, and presumably scheming or at least uncommonly sympathetic offstage.  Cantania’s Jeremy is always steady and unflappable.

 

Similarly, in couple number two, Sandra Roberts imbues Anna with so much perky self-confidence that it is initially comical before becoming worrisome, especially when she happily and optimistically runs roughshod over Emily’s desires and objections.  Biology will squash this alpha tendency, however, and the arrival of Robert will provide the final punctuation.

 

Paige Batt plays Emily with guileless innocence. She trusts Anna.  She trusts Robert.  Her performance creates a believable opening in the relationship into which Robert can opportunistically insert himself.  Saldana does this with creepy good cheer. 

 

BUA has long been known for scenes of intimacy, long before audiences had become accustomed to a same sex kiss, much less to nudity on stage.  Indeed, LGBTQ theaters across the country arguably pioneered intimacy direction.  Here, intimacy director Nicolette Navarro delivers moments of intimacy that provide the required romance, humor, or shock at the appropriate moment and with appropriate impact without ever seeming awkwardly staged or dramatically forced.

 

Director Rick Lattimer deftly reveals the complex shifts in dynamics that occur when an outside party intrudes on the established couple’s relationships, undermining the existing power structures and emotional bonds. There is no “A” story and “B” story.  We are told two equal parallel stories.  By the play’s final moment, the thematic connection between the two stories is entirely clear.

 

The title of the play may be playfully silly, but beyond the abundant laughs, “I Fucked You in my Spaceship” provides a thought-provoking evening of theater.

 

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