Robert Matson has written and directed a new play about sex and politics and set it in the secret playroom of the queen of an undisclosed kingdom. Her use of sex to buy influence and territory in a seemingly endless power struggle leads to interesting consequences for her and her many…connections?
Kris Schinske is delightfully seductive as Queen Coquette, and Todd Clark is charmingly bemused as her Husband King Spike, each of whom has a political agenda to be served—or serviced—via sex. The story is told through a series of encounters in her secret bedchamber, where she is tended by a very few trusted servants who have their own encounters and agendas.
The Queen uses her bed and body as a form of currency to manipulate the regional nobles into providing her with land for her plan of world domination; the king has similar plans. For the “upper” classes, sex is currency and the bed is a trading floor. The servants, however, see the bed as a place to celebrate sex.
Dougie Rankin does a lovely job as one of the servants (Tingle) as well as Lord Homely; Chris Briscoe carries off Admiral Bellicose, Glum and the Count; and Lance Overdorff offers up Sir Omnivorous and Duke Wheeze. The other servants are played by Courtney Hahne (HuggerMugger) and Clayton Blair (Leech). Apple Angel is Tweet, and Jackie Smola gives us a delightful harridan as Lady Huff, the King’s prudish aunt.
As the servant class finds their way to more or less committed relationships, the royals play with the bed as the locus of power and the stock market for sex.
Sex as a metaphor for money is not a new idea, and Matson has structured his play so that one is free to simply enjoy the beautifully performed social comedy (with simulated sex acts) and the broad farce that leads one to and from the encounters. However, for those of us who like to see beneath the sheets, as it were, there is a “there” there. Matson’s script, like much of his oeuvre, is broad comedy with a subtext.
In “The Queen’s Bed” we find interesting and problematic relationships—committed, connected, emotional ones—that interweave around and among the sexual encounters. One underlying message, therefore, is that sex is not the important part of relationship. That is an important and valuable concept in today’s world of hookups and immediate gratification.
Marching in parallel is the message that corrupt politics does not look corrupt to the practitioners. The machinations of the nobility have a real effect on the people of the land, but the manipulators never see past their own goals. They assume a sort of “trickle down” (or trample on) philosophy of governing and power. The nobles eventually come face to face with the fact that they are as human as the servant class—everyone takes their pants off in that bed, after all—but they don’t really embrace the unity.
Sound like politics, much?
“The Queen’s Bed” is playing at the Boom on Friday and Saturday nights through April 26. Contact www.rjmproductions.com for ticket information and reservations.