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June 21, 2016:

Strap-On reviewed by Rob Stevens

strapon

Proboscis Theatre Company is presenting the World Premiere Strap-On at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The play is based on true events—a court sentenced the defendant to eight years in prison in November, 2015. The 25-year old Gayle Newland was convicted of three counts of “vaginal penetration,” wearing a strap-on prosthetic penis to have sex with another young woman. Newland set up a phony Face Book account under the name of Kye Fortune, a male. She convinced her partner to wear a blindfold at all times during their sexual encounters (ten in all) while she lowered her voice, bound her chest, wore a swimsuit to disguise her curves and of course, wore a strap-on. The affair went on for two years before the victim removed her blindfold and discovered the truth. But what exactly is the truth? Director Jeff Mills wrote the play along with his two intrepid actresses—Madelyn Robinson and Erica Flor. The duo plays jurors going over the court testimony as well as acting out the encounters between defendant and victim. There are many conflicting points of testimony—did they really meet online or in a bar on LGBT night? Was the victim someone with lesbian liaisons in her past or just very naïve? Did the victim really perform fellatio on the prosthetic and not know the difference from a flesh and blood penis? The actresses are superb and really catch you up in their deliberations and re-enactments. The play is thought-provoking and my friends and I were still discussing it hours (and a couple of Fringe shows) later. You really should see it yourself. It is somewhat reminiscent of David Henry Hwang’s M Butterfly. That play told the true tale of a male French diplomat who carried on a sexual affair with a Peking Opera singer who he thought was female but turned out to be male. In both cases, it’s amazing what the mind can make itself believe. It once again proves that truth is stranger than fiction.

4stars

The Lounge Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. June 25. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3711

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