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Flash Review 2, 11-22: Looking at Sex
A Warm & Wet Romp from Torosian

By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2000 Maura Nguyen Donohue

"Cock Healer," at the 78th Street Theater Lab through December 16, is a dynamic and surprisingly heart-warming piece... of theater. In my second writing challenge of the week (no notes) I'm writing up a show that I actually caught about a week and a half ago (PBI got sick Friday night en route). This was one of those events that could have fallen into the tedious category of dutiful attendance at a friend's gig. Except that of course with a name like "Cock Healer" and the premise of one woman's real-life tales in the sex industry my salacious self, with exhibitionist history intact, was already titillated into curiosity. Luckily, I found the evening to be a warm and wet romp full of lively storytelling, entertaining songs and rambunctious dance all performed by the thoroughly engaging Rebecca Torosian.

Wayland Quintero, of Slant Performance Group, made his directorial debut after meeting Torosian in a Field workshop he was facilitating four years ago. The show evolved into its current form following workshops through the Field's Performance Zone and Field Days and at HERE last December. Quintero and Torosian have created a work that is humorous, powerful and sincere. Though some of her stories involve humiliation, including rape, she never expresses a sense of bitterness but instead uses movement to express transforming hurt and anger into personal strength. The stomping sequence that follows one story serves as an excellent transition out of the intense and into the present. Hilarious songs, a couple written by Slanted Rick Ebihara, and cartoon-like images created by Michael Kelin to represent some of Torosian's clientele aid in conveying the absurdity of some of her situations. Her 30-second interpretive dance of what Michael, her boyfriend, thinks of all this is a quivering examination of trust and jealousy.

Though some of the evening I saw was a little rocky, I actually enjoyed watching her dropping lines and calling to Wayland for them. Even then she's charming. Torosian has a special talent at making an audience comfortable, and I'm not talking about the perks that members of the front row get. She would of course have excellent interpersonal skills, drawing on 18 years as a stripper, sex surrogate therapist and sensual massage healer.

"Cock Healer" continues Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. through Dec 16, except for Thanksgiving weekend, when there are no shows. The 78th Street Theater Lab is located at 236 West 78th Street (above the Stand Up New York Comedy Club). For more information, please call (212) 873-9050, or visit the "Cock Healer" web site.

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