Dallas — Women are intensely sexual beings as are men. That men may have multiple sexual partners is accepted. It means they are virile. It is okay for a woman to have a couple of sexual partners in her lifetime, perhaps even three, but multiple? Hardly. There is a price exacted from women that have multiple sexual partners and quite often that is slut-shaming. Finding Myself in Bed by Stefany Cambra takes this on. She unzips the wrapper sheathing this topic to reveal a single, simple truth: some women have sex with multiple partners for one reason—they like it. Just like men. This comedy, the third production of the first season for Proper Hijinx, is onstage in the Basement Theatre Space of Contemporary Theatre of Dallas.
Cambra, who also directs this piece, has set the action in a dive bar and in the bedroom of Cami (Olivia Grace Murphy). The audience enters an interactive theatre arrangement of café tables and chairs dotting the space. Cami talks directly to the audience most often from the focal point of the arrangement, her bedroom.
We meet Cami during a time when the last thing in the world she wants is another relationship. She talks with her BFF, Marie (Sky Williams) and the bartender and Marie’s guy, Adam (Jeff Burleson) about her desire to satisfy her sexual desires without strings attached. Cami and Marie agree that one-night stands are the perfect solution. Twelve actually, sort of like a 12-step program of sexual freedom and gratification from the feminine point of view.
We watch as the characters strip off their street clothes. After “the act” the men usually exit the space in their underwear while we watch Cami get fully dressed before exiting the space. Perhaps this is just a transitional thing but it actually reinforces the notion of the female in control. Given a choice between leaving dressed and leaving with a bundle of clothes in one’s hands, dressed is better, stronger.
The men have been depersonalized, which is why they are nameless. Well, they have names but their names are of no importance to the female, which relegates them to the same status as female objects of lust in male initiated one-night stands. Austin Cline, Shane Strawbridge, David Helms and Matthew Stepanek take on 16 characters: Misters What’s His Name, Strike Out, Pick Up Line, Stage 3, Shit Wingman, Sex, Newly Single, Anal, Virgin, Bendover, Selfish, Apologizer, Approval, Kink, Ex, and Good Guy.
After this little male turnstile experiment, Cami receives clarity. Cambra rejects the formulaic thematic thread where the woman seeks eternal love and satisfaction in the arms of her perfect man, choosing instead to allow the female to assert that happiness does not equal a man in your bed. That is an option, and it can be a very good option, but it is not a goal. In the end Cami moves forward optimistically, open to the possibilities of life with or without a steady partner.
Murphy and Williams are fun as best friends with Williams providing the requisite bestie sass. All of the men are funny with day-after chuckles going to David Helms (as Mr. Anal and Mr. Apologizer) and Matthew Stepanek as Mr. Kink.
There should be more material surrounding the subject of female gratification from the female perspective. Cambra just might be slashing her way into a space few will touch in the way she offers the conversation. These hijinks are funny with a wink to the women who know exactly what she is talking about.