Let's get physical (maybe)

Kevin Broccoli's That Might Not Be Sex
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 20, 2010

HOT TOPIC Broccoli makes a point in That Might Not Be Sex. 

If Kevin Broccoli weren't so loose and hip, he might be called a raconteur. He is perhaps the best teller of autobiographical anecdotes around, a state treasure. If he ever were to learn to lie and become a politician, we'd be helpless accomplices on his path to world domination. His monologues are that good, as people continue to discover at the monthly Live Bait series of audience-supplied personal tales at Perishable Theatre, where he is a regular.

Broccoli's That Might Not Be Sex: An Examination of Potential Fornication is being presented by the Epic Theatre Company at the Artists' Exchange in Cranston (through July 24). The three-weekend presentation consists of nearly 100 vignettes performed by 82 local actors. All less than 10 minutes long, they are a continuation of Broccoli's examination plays. In recent years, You Might Not Be Crazy discussed the question of sanity in an insane world. You Might Be God discounted the premise of that previous monologue, among other things.

The idea for the show lightbulbed when Broccoli came across an interesting, broad definition of sex, as expressing love physically. He conveys his basic attitude by negative example in an opening monologue involving one caveman advising another one that going over to a woman, bonking her with a club, and dragging her back is "just wrong," though it does have the advantage of being able to tell how many other cavemen have slept with her, by counting the bumps on her head.

The mini-plays and the actors change each night, so the following descriptions won't be performances you'll see, except perhaps for Broccoli's opening lecture to Korg. But the 17 pieces I saw ranged, in writing and acting, from good to terrific, so they're likely representative. All is good-natured playfulness, hardly X-rated. Lust pops up, but with enthusiastic smiles rather than eyes averted, so it comes across as healthy instead of guilty.

Two vignettes were performed by teenagers, and both pieces were typical of the wholesome humor on tap here. Frankie Gallucci is a young girl going to confession with an unusual admission: that on a specific date 10 years in the future, she is going to be in love with Rafael, despite the fact that she would probably be married to dull, dull Winston, whom her parents already approve of. Teenager Sam Stone portrays a boy teaching a platonic girl friend how to kiss. The character is into the mechanics more than the fantasy he suggests for visual aid: pretending to kiss a gorgeous boy they both yearn for.

Eric Behr, with the benefit of being middle-aged, has fun pretending to be a swaggering, slit-eyed father warning his daughter's date that if he has sex with her, he can expect father-inflicted traumas that will cause psychological damage for years. The same goes for looking at her as though he wants to have sex with her.

There are some sentimental pieces, such as Kim Alessandro addressing the wife of a man she has had an affair with, speaking of his cologne lingering on the pillows and offering the shoes he'd left behind. In similar though lighter tones, Ashley Rodriguez describes sensually touching her lover's body, and Sheila Grace looks back nostalgically on a love affair in Paris.

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