Are These Actors Overexposed?

Quince Productions' new play blurs the lines of sexuality

R. Eric Thomas, Daniel Student and Jennifer MacMillan (photo by John Donges)

Three people are at a crossroads. One must come out as straight. Another faces the biggest challenge of her life: buying a house. And the third muses over a gay breakup and fried chicken. During Quince Productions‘ newest show, Overexposed: A Slightly Awkward Peep Show (Feb. 10 – 12), a cast of three navigate a wild night that ends revealing intimate details about each of the actors (all of whom collaborated to write the show).

Daniel Student, one of the actors and writers, says, “Each of us tells two autobiographical stories that reveal things about ourselves that are extremely personal. It’s an ‘awkward peep show’ for that reason. While you are getting to see our naughty bits (not literally, but figuratively), there is nothing particularly sexy about the view you get.”

Naughty bits aside, this isn’t a show for kids. “We do go into intimate details about our sex and sexuality, but it’s sex in all of its – messiness,” he says. “And awkwardness. I mean, really, a ‘peep show’ works because it is completely impersonal. If you got to see inside of the head of the person posing for you and what they were really thinking – oh boy.”

The play brings the wild world of Craigslist encounters, Grindr apps and dirty little secrets to life – neuroses and all. “Overexposed is a storytelling show,” says Jennifer MacMillan, another performer and co-writer, “in the vein of Spaulding Grey or David Sedaris, for example. And the pieces that the three of us have written are largely autobiographical and meant to be honest.”

One of the stories, “Coming Out As Straight,” speak frankly about sexual preference – but in the way you might expect. “It deals with the fact that I am actually the only straight person in my immediate family,” says Student, “and my journey of ‘coming out’ to them and my friends. You would have thought that my love of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition would have clued them in but, I mean, my brother’s love of My Little Ponies didn’t throw up any red flags either.”

MacMillan says all three performers pull the curtain back on many subjects – everything from relationships and growing up to what it means to have a home and what it means to love yourself. “The show is almost a coming-of-age story for the late 20s-30s set,” she explains. “And while we use relationships and sex as a vehicle to tell the stories, there is actually a lot of heart in them – and they tend to be about much more than [just] sex.”

There’s a serious side to the show, as well as a romp. “In truth, having two moms was, at times, a tough journey for me, not because of my parents (who are actually the best parents in the world, its true, even my friends say so), but because of the reaction I received from those around me,” says Student.

And all of these issues – from rough sex, to gay parenting and being straight, or gay or both – help inform the show.

“I don’t think any of us fall into particular categories,” says R. Eric Thomas, the third performer and writer, “but I definitely bring a viewpoint of being a 30-year-old gay man who made some enormously awkward mistakes looking for love and happiness in his 20s and is now looking toward the future and all the annoying things that growing up entails.” Like paying debts and rebuilding bridges.

Thomas discusses a breakup and what it’s like learning to cook fried chicken. “Storytelling is dangerous,” he says, but the collaboration paints a picture that’s human. Because even for Thomas, who’s been performing his own gay-themed shows on stage and in storytelling slams, it’s all about an amalgam of revolutions, he says, and turning stereotypes on their head.

“Sometimes I walk by Woody’s,” he admits, “and I have no idea who sings the song that’s playing.”

Overexposed, Feb. 10 – 12, Laurie Beechman Cabaret at the Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St., 215-627-1088.