Sex Tapes for Seniors: The Musical

It’s no joke that we need sex education courses for seniors–we’re inhabiting different bodies, different minds, and trying to make sense of relationships, new and/or ongoing. We’re dating, relating, retreating, all of the above.

So let’s put some humor in the whole situation, which playwright Mario Cossa does with Sex Tapes for Seniors. Approaching 60 himself, Cossa decided to write a musical comedy for older performers who sing, dance, and talk about sex and relationships. That’s a good thing, in my view.

The plot: a group of retirees, played by actors age 52 to 73, decide to produce educational sex videos for seniors. I loved the diversity of the seniors portrayed. They’re gay, lesbian, straight, widowed, single, coupled — you name it. How refreshing that all these older folks are shown dealing with relationships in their complexity, including but not solely sexual, and they don’t fit any stereotypes. Hallelujah.

The issues we really deal with are addressed here — and we laugh at the memory lapses, the need for new positions that don’t stress our aging bodies, the need for sex toys with instructions we can read. We nod in recognition when Dottie talks to the photo of her deceased husband, a lesbian couple bickers over a daughter not accepting their relationship, a husband doesn’t want to see a doctor about his unreliable erections despite the prodding of his sexually charged wife.

The whole cast is good, but I have to say that the wildly talented Phillipe Coquet stole the show for me playing Matthew, a wiry, tap dancing, rapping, sexy gay guy whose dream is to be on Oprah. Coquet, age 52, has been acting since the age of eight and I could have watched him for hours more. (Okay, so he was also my personal heart throb in the cast.)

I was surprised that the audience remained remarkably subdued through the first act, but started loosening up as the jokes and songs got a little raunchier. e.g. suggesting that “false teeth and fellatio” pair superbly.

The sex tapes story is a minor part of the plot, a way for the characters to reveal their issues, emotions, and back stories. It works, it’s fun, and it’s about time.

If you’re lucky enough to live in or near San Francisco, please see it at the Victoria Theatre. Tickets are affordable–$25-$40–and the show runs through August 22, 2010. I hope you’ll add your comments to mine.