Among savvy North Texas theatergoers "out of the loop" has come to mean "out of the ordinary." The latter term certainly applies to Sweet Eros, Fort Worth-based Qlive!'s contribution to this year's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival.
There's nothing sweet about this 1968 one-act by Terrence McNally. As playgoers file into the intimate Stone Cottage space in the Addison Theatre Centre their eyes are drawn to a young woman gagged and blindfolded and tied to a chair.
A young man wearing tight briefs speaks calmly to her, explaining why he abducted her and detailing his two previous unsuccessful relationships with women. He methodically removes her clothing. The calm talk shifts to rants, then physical abuse.
Questions begin to form in audience members' minds, such as: Where the hell is this thing going? You hope that will be in the direction of Extremities, with the victim turning the tables on her tormentor.
Director Adam Adolfo's two-member cast crackles with excellence. Abel Flores Jr., as the young man, succeeds in making you detest him. And Stephanie Cleghorn, as his victim, paints a vivid portrait without ever speaking an intelligible line.
(Cleghorn is clad in bra and panties for most of the play. The original actress, Sally Kirkland, was nude.)
At play's end, you're left puzzled. However, there's a clue in the French song that Cleghorn croons softly. The lyrics translate, roughly: "The joy of love is but a moment long; the pain of love endures the whole life through."
C'est la verité!
◊ To see a complete schedule of shows and venues, go here.
◊ WaterTower is streaming several shows and events at Out of the Loop. To watch them on our site, click the US Stream icon at the top of this page. It will open a separate tab. The streaming schedule is also included there.