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Off Broadway

Exposed Let’s Talk About Sex and Porn

Exposed Let’s Talk About Sex and Porn

Did you know recent research has shown that women watch more porn than men do?

Miriam Weeks also known as Belle Knox, is known for performing in pornography while studying at Duke University. She did it to help pay for her $60,000 per year tuition costs. In late 2013, her career became publicly known on campus, and she faced extensive in-person and online harassment. Knox defended her decision, as well as explaining her views of feminism and rights for sex workers.

Jacob Sebastian Phillips, Pauline Sherrow, Sarah Raimondi Photo by: Kyle Mencel

Recognize Theatre and MCS Theatre’s Exposed brings that story to light, without crediting where they got the source material. Kristin Heckler, who conceived and directed this wonderfully written and performed piece, has stated that she and the production’s three performers—Sarah Raimondi, Jacob Sebastian Phillips, and Pauline Sherrow—developed the project over a four-year period. They improvised to help create scenes, drawing on interviews with actual women in the adult-film industry, along with other porn-related sources.

Having followed the Weeks case, I knew this story. Also there was even a lifetime movie on the subject called “From Straight A’s to XXX”.

Exposed, follows Lauren (Sarah Raimondi), who started loving porn at 12 and is sexually curious even though her parents had her sign an abstinence pledge. When her father loses his job (Jacob Sebastian Phillips, in one of many roles), Lauren sets out to join the porn industry to pay her tuition, instead of being straddled for all those over priced student loans. When her friend (Phillips, again and based on Thomas Bagley) discovers her secret, he outs her to her roommate (Pauline Sherrow, again one of may roles) and some fellow frat students. The secret snowballs, as the students condemn her and her religious and strict family find out via the press camped out on their lawn. As Lauren also known as Scarlett Blue is now forced to deal with the fall out, we see the hypocrisy of a culture that watches, but shuns it’s performers when it is discovered they are going to school with you or live next door.

Jacob Sebastian Phillips, Sarah Raimondi Photo by: Kyle Mencel

Lauren, despite her choices is unashamed about her sexuality or her path. She does however realize that you will be held accountable for your actions, despite the way you rationalize them in your own head. By the end, even when the world lets her off the hook, she still has to grapple with her past in her own mind.

Jacob Sebastian Phillips Photo by: Kyle Mencel

All three performers are terrific. Raimondi brings us on Lauren’s journey and is believable very step of the way. She brings youth, vulnerability, innocences and is like a onion as she peals away the layers to expose her soul. Phillips breaks our heart with his powerful rendition of Lauren’s dad and then again as the student who exposes her. His sigh of “I Love You” when Lauren asks him to come home is effectively moving. Then he turns the tables as the men in the porn industry. Sherrow is the roommate we all would love to have, the jadded older porn star who is in essence just a single working mother burnt out but doing what she has to. She is also the mother who is sheltered and unaware.

Jacob Sebastian Phillips, Sarah Raimondi and Pauline Sherrow Photo by: Kyle Mencel

Heckler’s direction is masterful. This show has a lot of sex scenes that are well handled, yet don’t shy away from the what is happening. Heckler has choreographed them by having the performers mirror the carnal acts. Though graphic, you are not made to feel ill at ease or that you are a voyeur. There is partial nudity, strong language due to the nature of the subject but, the play is well-crafted and filled with humor.

Heckler, Exposed, Recognize Theatre and MCS Theatre have shown you can take unknowns, a small budget, a shoebox theatre and create art. This show is well done on all levels and is truly worth seeing. Bravo.

As for the real Weeks, she is getting a degree at New York Law School, has given up the porn industry and is now 23. Life does move on!

Exposed: Recognize Theatre and MCS Theatre, , 357 West 36th St until Feb. 24th.

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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