Five Times in One Night: Review by Christopher Kompanek
Chiara Atik’s aptly titled new work deftly explores the moments leading up to or following a roll in the hay for five very different couples across many centuries, including Adam and Eve on the precipice of discovering their sexuality. Dylan Dawson and Darcy Fowler play them all with aplomb, transforming seamlessly from a repressed teacher and his shy
yet inquisitive student in the Middle Ages to a couple exploring the edges of BDSM power play as they approach their fifth anniversary—a negotiation on sensual choking shows Atik at her peak of honesty and wit.
That there’s nothing sensational in this play about sex is a testament to how deeply Atik mines the subject and how R.J. Tolan’s nuanced directorial touch fuses tension with vulnerability. The disparate times and locales, brought to life by Jason Simms’s versatile set pieces (a postapocalyptic rock transforms into a civilized bookshelf), highlight the enduring power of this primal act.—Christopher Kompanek
Ensemble Studio Theatre (see Off Broadway). By Chiara Atik. Directed by R.J. Tolan. With Dylan Dawson, Darcy Fowler. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.