It’s as if 100 Savage Love columns have come to life in Dick Play, the new work by Jack Bump at La MaMa. An older, experienced swinger duo, Victor and Viva (Mark Leydorf and Wren Arthur), try to impress their promiscuous ways upon newlyweds Mona and Fred (Julie Atlas Muz and Brian Bickerstaff). The play—like Bump’s previous enterprise, Sport-Fuckers—is a curious mix of Betty Crocker ’50s chirpiness and lewd behavior. The snappy dialogue is given a perky delivery by the actors (think Reese Witherspoon in Election), but the talk is all phone-sex naughty. Bump sends up every sexual hang-up (homosexuality, anal sex) and cliché (Viva and Victor constantly discuss rubbing ridiculous types of food on their genitals).
Such matter-of-fact sex discussions have a weird effect—talk of bungholes and and cunts desexualizes the characters even as they get “head” onstage or “fuck” with strap-on dildos. The set is bare save for four tables and four chairs and the various dick puppets that Victor gets Fred to wear (they even have a bona fide cockfight between Victor’s dog and Fred’s pirate outfits).
Central to Dick Play is the notion of ownership between couples. Mona, when first confronted by the possibility of swinging, is uncomfortable because she wants Fred “all to herself.” Fred is initially intrigued by an open marriage—that is, until Mona and Viva pick up a sexy brunette, Hillary (Barbara Sauermann), and have a lurid three-way. Dick Play works the same premise over and over, but never brings down the house with its irreverent jokes until midway through Mona’s story of the ménage à trois.
After Fred storms offstage in a jealous rage, Mona breaks the fourth wall, sitting down with audience members to finish her story. Bless the nerve of the older man who sat unflinchingly through her descriptions of oral sex (“I sucked her clit!”). The next victim, a younger black man, got in the game himself, responding with “Oh, yeah!” As she ended the triple-X monologue, he did what any guy would do—gave her a high five and a backslap.