By Gurman Sahota, February 14 2017 —
With a tagline boasting “provocative temptation” and “dangerous conversation,” Soliciting Temptation grabs the audience’s attention from the very beginning. The play follows a man and a woman who meet in a hotel room to have sex, but things take a dark turn. Soliciting Temptation will take place at the Pumphouse Theatre from Feb. 23 – Mar. 4.
Matthew Overall plays the unnamed man. He says that the play is also about the truth of a person.
“[Truth] was something I had to really grapple with when I look at my character and certain automatic responses at the kind of things he does, which are pretty common western responses,” Overall says. “I had to look behind them to find this human being that I am playing, as opposed to this stereotype that I may have about him.”
Sage Theatre produced the piece. The company focuses on telling stories that explore what it means to be human.
Director’s Jason Mehmel says he chose the show because it challenges his own privilege and authority. Mehmel says Soliciting Temptation explores heavy themes without necessarily providing a clear answer about what is morally right. However, presenting sensitive themes comes with certain difficulties.
“We’ve had challenges where we set the play to make sure we’re following something that is both accurate to the text and what the story requires as well as trying to be as representational as we can of the actual team that we have,” Mehmel says. “We’re trying to be as authentic as we can.”
Patricia Cerra — who plays the unnamed girl — says her character explores a different kind of intimacy in the play.
“It’s finding those barriers and lines of the character and exploring intimacy in a sort of complicated and flawed kind of way,” Cerra says. “And seeing how far we can take things on either end of the spectrum and where that lives.”
Mehmel says there are forms of theatre that intend to educate the audience, but Soliciting Temptation is not one of them. Instead, its focus lies in expressing tension without giving explicit points or reasoning.
Mehmel hopes the audience gives thought to both the piece and the topic of sexual tourism.
“If we do our jobs right, we’re going to be causing conversations in the parking lot and questions afterwards,” Mehmel says. “We may cause reactions and ultimately [hope] that they react and respond to the work.”
Soliciting Temptation will play from Feb. 23 – Mar. 4. Tickets are available online.
For more information, visit sagetheatre.com