ORLANDO – It’s not easy being Promiscuity.
As the lead character in Bobby DeSormier’s screwball comedy “Everybody Loves Chlamydia,” Promiscuity actually seems like a walking, talking contradiction. He’s found love and perhaps his true mate in Lust, and the two of them seem to be the perfect match, until ….
Lust begins to suspect that Promiscuity has been fooling around on him, and Promiscuity decides to fess up. Bad decision, as it turns out, since in a moment of weakness, Promiscuity decided to hop in bed with none other than Chlamydia!
“I had Tequila,” Promiscuity sighs. “You know it makes me easy.”
Horrified and disgusted, Lust ends their relationship.
That suits Chlamydia just fine. She’s tired of being a lowly infection, barely meriting the kind of respect and fear that full blown sexually transmitted diseases command. In an effort to reverse that situation, Chlamydia sets her sights on the town of Virginity, where the mayor, Chastity, is so busy answering calls from the recently deflowered – “No, you can’t have your V card back,” Chastity reminds them, “Once you’ve lost it, you’ve lost it” – that she doesn’t notice Chlamydia taking aim at her throne.
By taking over Chastity’s kingdom and spreading her infection to all within it, Chlamydia envisions an opportunity to become the supreme ruler – and the most respected STD around.
“I want to give the entire world Chlamydia,” she declares, with the aim of going from “a curable bacteria to an incurable virus. They will know my name!”
And who better to enlist in her scheme than the recently dumped Promiscuity. But will his hurt feelings at being cast aside by Lust be enough to convince him to collaborate on such a malicious scheme?
DeSormier, who wrote the play and takes on the lead role of Promiscuity, has said he was inspired to write it in part because he never got taught sex education at the Catholic high school he attended, and at times “Everybody Loves Chlamydia” plays like one of those sex ed mini-plays that schools sometimes stage to teach kids right from wrong – only the script got hijacked by folks who want to present something a lot more explicit and comical than the dour warning about reckless personal behavior that the school leaders envisioned.
DeSormier also said he wanted to do something different from the kinds of shows that his fellow students at the Florida State University theater program were doing – serious, dramatic, artsy. There’s no question that DeSormier’s show goes in the exact opposite direction, giving us a campy, zany comedy that revels in bad taste, and does it with a high degree of cheerful silliness.
To begin her plot to take over the town of Virginity, Chlamydia pretends to be an inspector, prompting Chastity to note, “I’ve never had an inspection before – with Virginity, you either have it or you don’t!” And soon Chlamydia has Promiscuity assisting in her grim plans, and it all looks hopeless – or does it?
DeSormier the writer takes a kind of “kitchen sink” approach to this material – tossing everything but the kitchen sink at the audience to get a laugh. Not everything works, but the play is so eager to be crazy fun that it’s hard not to get into the spirit of it all.
In fact, this is one of those comedies that has a loose, improvisational feel, such as when one of the cast members forgot his lines and basically just admitted it on stage, or a little later when the comedic antics of Chastity’s maid Merda, played by Addison Taylor, had even DeSormier unable to keep from laughing. At times, this campy show feels more like a drunken party that the audience got invited to than a somber theatrical performance.
It’s easy to see why DeSormier was laughing. Taylor completely defines the term “scene stealer” as the gruff, bombastic, non-nonsense, I’m not taking your crap, lady Merda. Carol Palumbo also has some delightfully good moments as Chastity, and along the way there’s a wild cat fight between two of the women, a life-sized condom and even a Todd Akin joke tossed in for the political junkees in the audience.
It’s appropriate, I think, that DeSormier premiered his show last May at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, which seems to revel in these kinds of over the top gay comedies, or that it’s now found a second life playing on Monday nights at 8 at the Footlight Theatre at the Parliament House resort. This is a comedy for folks who think the sillier the better, and while Taylor began the show by telling the audience “The end of the evening is much better if you’re intoxicated,” the truth is you don’t have to be drunk to laugh at this show. Chances are, you will either way.
The Footlight Theatre is at 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail. The show runs through Sept. 17.
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