“Fifty Shades of Grey” this ain’t. Blue? Perhaps.
That’s the color of a little diamond-shaped pill at the center of the two-act comedy “Sex Please We’re Sixty,” opening this weekend at Teatro Wego! in Westwego.
Staged by the Jefferson Performing Arts Society and directed by “Uncle” Wayne Daigrepont, “Sex Please” is “a choreography of comedy,” according to Peter Gabb, one of the lead actors in the production.
Taglined “An American Farce” and written by Michael and Susan Parker in 2008, “Sex Please We’re Sixty” is a play on words from a U.K. comedy titled “No Sex Please We’re British.”
The plot centers around the Rose Cottage Bed & Breakfast at an unnamed town in New England. Owned by Mrs. Stancliffe, played by Mary Pauley, the B&B has three women guests who return regularly, played by Claire Conti, Margeaux Fanning and Kathryn Talbot.
One of the B&B’s neighbors, 71-year-old Bud Davis (nicknamed “Bud the Stud” and played by Gabb), thinks that all three guests are returning just to spend time with him, thanks to his Viagra-enhanced libido.
Another neighbor, Henry Mitchell (Jeffrey Martorell), is a retired chemist who developed another blue pill, dubbed “Venusia,” designed to produce the same result for women that Viagra has for men.
Complications arise when Bud ingests two Venusia pills, mistaking them for his Viagra. Bud’s reactions — hot flashes, to start — are the source of much of the play’s humor.
“This is a very funny play,” Daigrepont said, “but it’s only good if you have funny, funny, funny comedians to begin with. And when you see a man going through menopause, that’s as funny as it gets. We have little fans sitting all around the set because we need them. It’s hot flash time,” he added with a hearty laugh.
However, despite the title and the subject matter, Daigrepont hastened to add that the production is in good taste.
“There’s not a curse word anywhere. There’s nothing vulgar, in spite of the title. Just a funny situation,” he said.
A seasoned director, pianist, puppeteer and all-around entertainer, Daigrepont arrived in New Orleans from his native Simmesport in 1975 and understudied with the late, legendary director Storer Boone at the now-defunct Beverly Dinner Playhouse.
“Imagine getting out of college and landing at the Beverly,” he said. “It was a wonderful thing in my life.”
Daigrepont said: “I love to play Scrabble, and I find that when you direct, it’s like the game. If you don’t have good letters you’re not going to do well, but if you have great letters you’ve got a great game. I’ve got great letters here and they’re very funny.”
Gabb, a veteran actor with more than 50 years under his belt, recalls performing in “No Sex Please We’re British” when it was staged at the Beverly and several other also-defunct dinner theaters in the New Orleans area.
“This production (‘Sex Please’) is nothing like that one. It’s a lot funnier,” he said.
“Bud is a stud in his own mind,” Gabb said. “So, once he starts getting those hot flashes, it’s payback time for the women. They’re watching all the stuff that happens to him and laughing about it.”
It’s a comedy, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy role.
“A lot of movement and timing comes into play here,” Gabb said. “There are lots of lines to remember. And there are at least as many moves with timing as there are lines, so it’s a load. You keep busy the whole time.”