Most people check into hotels seeking R&R, but you won’t feel rejuvenated after a stay at HotelMotel, the Amoralists’ disturbing double-feature. Derek Ahonen’s Pink Knees on Pale Skin and Adam Rapp’s Animals and Plants are staged in a small room at the Gershwin Hotel. This proximity helps: Both plays, though unevenly written, are grotesquely amusing at close range.
Pink Knees features relatively few of Ahonen’s lurid trademarks (no cannibals or lesbian stereotypes here!). Gathered around a bed, we observe Dr. Sarah Bauer, orgy counselor, who “repairs” two maimed marriages—then discovers that her own union is irreparably screwed-up too. (Unsurprising, since she makes her husband hide under the bed, naked, then leap out and “service” her clients.) A high-decibel, low-taste ending ensues—too bad, since Pink Knees could have otherwise been an entertaining sex farce.
In Animals and Plants, two drug runners hunker in a taxidermy-bedecked motel room during a blizzard. They ponder humanity’s relationship to other species, revel in personal idiosyncrasies—one brandishes 10-dollar words, the other sticks objects down his pants—and meet a forlorn hippie and her frightening fur-clad husband. The grisly climax that follows (and some pseudo–Native American undertones) feel clichéd. But Rapp’s bumbling criminals are attention-worthy—as long as you don’t have to spend the night.