Edited by: Heather K.
Editor's Note: As a courtesy from Signpost, a social networking website for "bargain hunters," which offers great deals from local businesses and unique local merchants, WGINY was extended tickets to the new Off-Broadway show, Sex on the Beach, a show centered around the sex tourism industry in the Spanish Carribean. Signpost is currently offering a heavily discounted deal for tickets to Sex on the Beach, $19 for tickets worth $47! Guest author, Tami Shaloum (previously featured in WGINY's Post #2 of An Affordable Weekend of Meditation, Yoga and Relaxation, Close to NYC), attended the show on June 23 and wrote the following review.
Sex on the Beach, Roy Arias’ Off-Broadway one-man play, is a funny, scathing and often poignant exploration of the sex tourism industry in the Spanish Caribbean. The audience is presented with three characters, all prostitutes selling their services to tourists, and all portrayed by Arias. There is "La Caramelo," a Puerto Rican transvestite on the run from the police who is beginning to rethink his line of work after recounting a series of violent acts toward his fellow street walkers. "Brazo E' Niño" is a high-spirited, big talking hustler who finds his reputation on the line. Finally, the last, and most sympathetic, character is "Esperanza," a Cuban mother who is fed up with her low-paying job as a dentist and “waiting for a bus that never comes.”
The play does a good job of giving a face and personality to an oft-discounted "profession," and works best when you think of the show as social commentary. It does not really judge or posit an opinion as to the morality of prostitution, but merely suggests that there are very different reasons for selling one's body, and that there can be pride in the profession as much as there is shame. Each character recognizes the dangers of their chosen vocation, as well as how they may be negatively viewed by society. Sex on the Beach also addresses the fact that homosexuality is still frequently frowned upon, as we see two of the characters struggling with this problem.
As far as the play's entertainment value, it helps for theatre-goers to have a grasp of the Spanish language to understand a lot of the references, as Arias’ accent is thick and he speaks in a rapid Spanish/English hybrid. In fact, the play’s original award-winning incarnation was all in Spanish. The playbill gamely includes a short dictionary of some slang words but it is difficult to refer to it in the dark of the theater. While this did not entirely take away from the enjoyment of the play, it would have been nice to understand all that was said.
By far the most appealing part of Sex on the Beach is Arias’ performance. He seamlessly transforms into the three very distinct, very different characters. He is as believable as a transvestite as he is a struggling mother. He infuses emotion into the roles and makes the audience really feel for these people. Another stand out is vocalist Natalia Peguero, whose sultry voice seduces the audience in between scenes while Arias changes into the next character. These two performers make the experience of watching Sex on the Beach almost as enjoyable as its title suggests.
Thanks again to Laura Zanzal, the community manager at Signpost. Consider joining Signpost so that you never miss any of their great deals. Find discounted tickets to Sex on the Beach through July 3 here, when you subscribe to Signpost. After July 3, you can buy tickets at Theatermania. The show is currently slated to run through July 30, 2011.