Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Polly Comes to Play

Polly has found a new home and a place to tell her story. ‘Polly’s Amorous Adventure’ will be performed on December 7th and 8th at the S2S (Script2Stage2Screen) venue in Rancho Mirage, California.

In our modern day world of plain old-fashion dating, match-ups, hook-ups, swinging, swapping, switching, one-nighters and a dozen or more complicated variations of romantic liaisons, it turns out that not one type of relationship suits all. In fact, there are probably as many different intimate, sexual, personal relationships as can meet the imagination. One of the most prominent of which is called a polyamorous relationship. Who knew?

A polyamorous relationship is defined as a romantic relationship with more than one person. What distinguishes it from a classic love triangle is that all the partners know about each other and are accepting of those other relationships. It can pertain to men, women, or a combination of both.

My curiosity was aroused (pardon the pun) even further when another friend who works at a medical clinic casually told me about her encounters with swingers. It seems there is a group of swingers who go to her clinic once a month for blood tests to make sure they haven’t contracted any STDs. My friend was impressed by the casual nature as well as honest and open approach this woman took when describing how her group went about exchanging wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and new arrivals.

To better understand all the variations and emotional dynamics of a polyamorous relationship, I had to do research. So I started with Google. According to a study published in the ‘Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy’ in 2016, 21 percent of people have had a non-monogamous relationship – one in which ‘all partners agree that each other may have romantic and/or sexual relationships with other partners.’

The notion of multiple-partner relationships is as old as the human race itself. But polyamorists trace the foundation of their movement to the utopian Oneida Christian commune of upstate New York, founded in 1848 by Yale theologian John Humphrey Noyes. But it wasn’t until the late-1960s and 1970s ‘free love’ movement that polyamory truly came into vogue when books like ‘Open Marriage’ topped the best seller lists and groups like the North American Swingers Club began experimenting with the concept.

It’s hard for many people to think outside of the fairy-tale notion of ‘the one’ and imagine that it might be possible to actually romantically love more than one person simultaneously. Jealousy is the main culprit and it’s an issue that polyamorists deal with constantly.

Once I discovered this Achilles heel of jealousy, I had my theme and the main point of conflict and contention in my storyline. Yeah, it sounded like the groundwork for a new play. So that’s what I did. I wrote ‘Polly’s Amorous Adventure.’

This play about a polyamorous relationship was going to be a challenge even though I had a good idea of how the storyline (Polly’s dilemma) was going to unfold right from the start. I wanted to grab the audience’s attention, hold on tight and not let it go. But I also wanted to make my characters real. They had to be sympatric in their relationship challenges and honest in their pursuit of this love triangle.

My main protagonist, Polly, is in a polyamorous relationship or so she thinks she is. The two men involved aren’t so sure and Polly’s girlfriend, Hazel, is certain that she isn’t. Polly’s mother is a toss-up. She could go either way but wants in on the action anyway.

In ‘Polly’s Amorous Adventure’ I’ve tried to be true to the intent of a polyamorous relationship but to also analyze the complexities of multiple relationships where emotions, raw feelings, confusion and jealousy are all a part of the equation. Then to stir up the pot a little more, I’ve added a handyman who is more than that, a girlfriend who can swing both ways, an online sex councilor who just can’t stay in her PC and an unconventional shopping list for insane pleasure.

The play was a joy to write. I fell in love with my characters, was surprised by their reactions to events and rationale for their relationships. ‘Polly’s Amorous Adventure’ turned out to be a rollicking, twisted, sometimes torturous pathway through human emotions and ever-elusive true love. Now it’s time for the audiences to see for themselves just what kind of dilemma Polly has gotten herself into.

It’s hard writing about a one-on-one relationship whether it’s with a past girlfriend or that someone special that you’ve been with forever. Relationships are challenging enough without the tentacles of love churning up the waters with their complex currents of swirling emotions. Now add to that a one-on-two slow dance and it’s bound to get just a little bit crazy.

Nevertheless, a lot of fun to write about.

Performances begin at 7:30pm on December 7th and 8th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert. 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage, CA.  92270.

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