San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

‘Orgasms’ Bares Differences between Men, Women

Remember all those jokes about how women are such terrible drivers? Not true as statistics reveal, but we laughed anyway and some of the jokes were really clever and funny. Or the person telling the joke had such a great sense of humor we laughed because she was so funny in the telling. Such is the case with “Orgasms,” now being presented in Spanish at the Torres Theater in downtown San José.

Playwright Dan Israely, who recently visited Costa Rica from the United States in honor of the 100th performance of his play in the country, admits he got many of his ideas from his wife, clinical psychologist Zahava Israely.

“Orgasms” opened in California, went on for a yearlong run off-Broadway in New York City and is now being presented in seven countries, including Peru, India, Greece, Brazil and Israel, with shows in Chile and Argentina about to open. In Costa Rica, more than 13,000 people have seen the play, and the house continues to sell out with good reason.

María Torres as Eve, a contemporary woman, and Sergio Masís as Adam, her contemporary counterpart, are simply brilliant in their impeccable timing in this raucous play.

Every single cliché you have heard about women, you are going to hear here. Every single cliché about men appears also: women wear clothes to look good; men wear clothes to cover their bodies; if a man has an extra suit, it’s because a woman bought it for him; women are maniacal shoppers and have to have hundreds of shoes, etc.

Never mind. Even if you’ve heard it before, it’s wildly funny. In one instance, Torres demonstrates how women “multi-task”: a phone cradled in her shoulder, she talks to a friend, stirs something in a pot on the stove, lowers the oven temperature with her foot and yells at the kids in another room – hilarious. While men are “single-minded”:

Wife in the car: “You haven’t said a word to me for half an hour.”

Husband, frowning as he holds the steering wheel: “Can’t you see I’m driving?”

The bedroom scenes in a standing-up bed are wonderfully done and very funny. During some shows – “It depends on the audience,” Torres says – Torres is clever enough to get the names of a few people in the front row and during the play calls on them to back her up in arguments with her spouse: “Hey, Ramón, and you, Eduardo, I’m right aren’t I?” she calls, then turns to her partner with a “See?”

Masís is marvelous at explaining the reason men are philanderers: “It’s what God wanted.”

The play has its negatives, for example some of the clichés were real turnoffs: If a woman wants something, she asks for it only after her partner is wildly aroused – what? Talk about spoiling the moment. If a man wants to turn his wife on, he lies to her about what he likes about her – what? The fallacy that women need compliments to become aroused aside, if there is nothing the man really likes about his wife, why did he marry her?

Director Manuel Ruiz, who also plays the offstage role of God, has cleverly used the entire back wall as a movie screen where among other things the Garden of Eden is presented, funny cartoons illustrate points and a silly snake slithers throughout. No program is distributed; rather, the names of cast and crew come up on the screen, like at the movies.

The newly renovated theater with dark blue walls and white trim, gray carpeting, comfy seats and cozy bar in the foyer is a charming venue, and it’s next door to an allnight parking lot.

The Torres Theater is on Avenida 8, between Calles 11 and 13. Shows are at 8 p.m., Friday to Sunday. For reservations, call 256-4295.


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