The Mystery of Love & Sex at the Taper

Gordon and I dashed from the parking lot of the Music Center to Kendall’s for our usual soup and wine before going upstairs to see The Mystery of Love & Sex at the Taper. Our spot was taken again! And all the bartenders we knew weren’t working. The place was absolutely packed so the service was marginal but we got our soup (didn’t get the extra bread we requested) and watched Jeopardy anyway. The two people next to us didn’t pay any attention to the game; they were talking about the show and seemed quite knowledgeable about it. They talked loudly about being Yale graduates–don’t know if it was to impress the people around them or they had to talk loudly to be heard. Anyway, they seemed to be members of the Ivy League mafia that’s taken over the arts scene. They should be glad they could sit and yak. As I said, the place was packed. When did Kendall’s become popular? They crowd used to consist of aging art farts like Gordon and me. Now the aging hipsters have taken over. And they’ve taken my spot! Might have to try to restaurant in the Broad Museum across the street when it opens for dinner. I wonder if they have a TV? Wouldn’t want to miss Jeopardy.

The play was about the difficulty of being open about life choices: love and sex, to be specific. It’s a dramedy about coming to terms with homosexuality, inter-race and/or faith marriages, and divorce. That’s a lot of territory to cover. There are no easy answers or resolutions, of course, but there are some funny lines and good scenes. Turns out that the woman sitting next to us at the restaurant was the playwright; she sat in front of us with a legal pad taking notes. I think the first note should be–edit it down about half an hour. The action drags a bit at times and the action could use some tightening up. The guy she was talking to was the director of the thing. And a county supervisor (a good card-carrying lesbian) sat behind us. I wish I could have seen her reaction to the line when the mother sees a picture of the woman (short hair; very butch) her daughter has a crush on: “Yup, she’s a lesbian all right.” The play follows good Liberal orthodoxy–it wouldn’t be produced at the Taper if it weren’t–but it has some good stuff in it and it does try to make fun of everyone. Nothing new or earthshaking but at least I wasn’t wishing I was at home watching I Love Lucy. Oh, and if you’re offended by nudity, save your money. The young people both strip down to show how ‘open’ and vulnerable they’re being. The young woman had probably been a gymnast in a past life–still had springy leg and upper body muscles. The young man was slim and lovely but it must have been cold on that stage. He got some ‘whoops’ anyway.

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About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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