Part Truman Show, part Bride of Frankenstein, Mike Albo’s gaudy, psychedelic Sexotheque attacks media manipulation in a manner just as manic as the process itself. Pitting caffeinated Nielsen analyst Randy Taylor (George Henderson) and his minions against the stars of Totally Hot and the Blahblue family, the comedy meditates on control—how advertising hypnotizes consumers and how celebrities are at the mercy of the public and the ratings system.
Director Michael Goldfried shows us Taylor directing the stars (who are permanently “colorcast” inside the television) via mic and remote control. “Latent lesbian” Mara Blahblue (Abby Scott), 13, smacks gum and stares at the tube, entranced. Led by Cassie Neet (Cary Curran), the celebrities resemble the Fly Girls on acid, performing pseudo-Janet Jackson moves in bright, tacky outfits, stuck where “everything smells like plastic.” Trouble begins when analyst Tina (Barbara Stein) falls in love with Mara and tries to communicate with her through the celebrities, sending Taylor’s plan awry.
The celebrities are rejects: fallen magazine editors (one, played by Sandra Bauleo, cites “Five Steps to Happiness”), MTV VJs, and commercial actors. We learn that head celeb Cassie—a sort of bad-girl Britney Spears on Prozac—has been sent to the celebrity chamber for calling someone a fag “in front of Michael Musto.” Set to a techno score by Blondie’s Chris Stein, Sexotheque is hyper Downtown monologist Albo’s first play, and while he doesn’t set foot onstage, you feel his wily ways in every scene. Nothing about Albo or the play is subtle. He mocks commercial jingles, idol worship, and our capacity for devouring pop life hook, line, and sinker.