Charlie the Sex Addict Poster
CHARLIE THE SEX ADDICT MEETS 4 HOOKERS explores the experiences of people leading double lives while struggling with issues of sexual identity. The story unfolds in two-parts as it examines the search for connection in a disconnected world.
Part One: Charlie the Sex Addict focuses on the life of Charlie, a man who spends his days indulging in sexual adventures while his girlfriend endures her 9 to 5 job.
Part Two: 4 Hookers shifts the focus to explore the lives of prostitutes trying to make a living in LA.
Started off as a play called Selling Breasts.
Cast: 3 men 5 women
Original Cast: Dawn Akemi, Seth Greenleaf, David Hoffman, Shelly Kurtz, Katy Magnuson, Melissa K. Marks, Shilo May and Steven Schub.
Los Angeles 2004
THE PINK SHEET
Charlie the Sex Addict Meets 4 Hookers
By Ted Flagg
Obsessions can be pesky and destructive things in everyday
life, but for many writers they are their stock in trade—just consider
Tennessee Williams or William Inge. And when their obsessions
are of a sexual nature, they tend to get attention and may
bring in dollars at the box-office.
Gay actor/writer/director Ronnie Larsen is a case in point: he
is obsessed with theater (you have to be obsessed to do theater in
Los Angeles) and with matters sexual. In Making Porn and
Shooting Porn, he dealt with the porn-film industry. In 10 Naked
Men, he turned to more personal stories, but his plays have always
had a strong sexual component, and most have involved nudity.
This has led some viewers to think of him as a pornographer,
which he is not. There’s always a keen critical mind, and a kind
of off-beat idealism behind his work. And in ways that are not
always readily apparent, he has a strong autobiographical bent.
In this latest creation, Charlie the Sex Addict Meets 4
Hookers, he presents us with two one-act plays, though some
characters appear in both. Charlie the Sex Addict is a partial
reworking and a condensation of his earlier play, Selling Breasts,
which he wrote under a pseudonym.
Charlie (David Hoffman), the titular addict, has been laid off from his previous job, and now
depends on his actress girl-friend Jessica (Shilo May) to provide
the household income—and pay for the prostitutes he hires to
help him play out his fantasies: he acts out scenarios of rape and
murder, and then photographs the “corpses” of his victims.
Meanwhile, Jessica has taken a job selling a product that
claims to be an herbal breast enhancer, offering hope to flat-chested
women. She soon realizes that the product is a fake, the company
is a scam, and her boss Karl (Steven Schub) is a full-time
sleaze. When a desperate 14-year-old named Kimmy (a touching
Katy Magnuson) calls to order the product, for a hefty $800,
Jessica’s conscience kicks in and she wants to quit the dishonest
and demeaning job. But her attempts to resign are opposed by the
In Act Two, 4 Hookers, the focus is on four prostitutes (Katy
Magnuson, Melissa K. Marks, Shilo May, and Dawn Akemi) and
the four johns who patronize them. One of the whores is Kimmy,
now two years older, on the game, and living on her own because
her puritanical father Michael (Shelly Kurtz) has thrown her out
of the house. The four johns are Charlie, still pursuing his violent
fantasies, Kimmy’s father, who likes to be listen to salacious stories
read by a hooker dressed as a nun, a young marine (Seth
Greenleaf) with a fondness for wearing women’s lingerie, and a
young writer (Steven Schub) who is interviewing the ladies of the
evening for a screenplay he’s writing.
This production lacks some of the wit and polish that distinguished
10 Naked Men, and it feels rather as if it was rushed into
production before it had time to jell. There are fragmentary subplots
that go nowhere (the young marine was apparently involved
in a plane crash that got him in serious trouble, but we never learn
what actually happened). Nevertheless, the piece is always clever
and entertaining, expertly performed by a fine cast, and it packs
in more sensitivity and humanity than the title and the subject
matter might suggest. It’s well worth a visit.
And though Larsen insists that this play is “very heterosexual,”
it does have its share of sexual ambiguities and both male
and female nudity. The young writer in the second play is decidedly
sexually ambivalent, and when he finally realizes his own
curious sexual fantasy, it’s done with the help of his sister.
By Steven Leigh Morris
In the world according to writer-director Ronnie Larsen, where almost everybody’s either plugging themselves into a dildo, wrapping themselves in cellophane or playing out fetishes of rape and murder, there’s humanity beneath the lunacy — even despite Lar-sen’s grating insistence that paying for sex is no different from paying for a used car. Larsen calls the first of his two related playlets “Charlie the Sex Addict,” but it’s really about the ethical quandary of Charlie’s too busy/too stressed-for-sex girlfriend, Jessica Allbright (Shilo May), who lands an awful job telemarketing fake breast-enlargement cream, while Charlie (David Hoffman) sits home masturbating, or spending her meager earnings to hire prostitutes who play out his rape and murder scenarios. The comedy is really about the interlocking relationship of lies and commerce and violence, embodied in Kimmy Stanton (Katy Magnuson), an eager-to-please 14-year-old girl who’s persecuted for her small breasts and emotionally banks on the useless cream to salvage her dignity. In Part 2, “4 Hookers,” we re-meet Kimmy, one of the eponymous “4”; she’s run away from home after enduring an abortion and the contempt of her family. Playwright Henry (Steven Schub) logs familiar tales of woe from the quartet for a play he’s writing — the play we’re watching — as a dour U.S. Marine (Seth Greenleaf) asks to wear a bra, a lawyer (Shelly Kurtz) pays to be read pornography, and Charlie continues his rape and murder fetish with chilling regularity. This parade of dysfunction doesn’t compare in insight to the social satire of Part 1, but the acting in both is as refined as the blend of farce and poignancy in Larsen’s staging. Cast Theater, 804 El Centro Ave., Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 & 7 p.m.; thru Dec. 5. (800) 965-4827.