BWW Review: In COCK TALES: Shame on Me! Debra Ehrhardt Honestly Shares Her Sexual Awakening
Cock Tales: Shame on Me! the new and very personal play from Debra Ehrhardt, the award-winning solo artist and writer of the internationally acclaimed Jamaica Farewell, is a remarkably honest tale about how her repressed and very religious childhood was challenged by her discovery of boys' bodies before she was in her teens. Her 80-minute show is based on Ms. Ehrhardt's colorful history of a lifetime of encounters with a world full of testosterone-fueled gentlemen--and not-so-gentle-men- that has given her plenty of "source material" from which to create a memorable evening of theater. From her early years as a young girl raised in a religious family, through her sexual awakening as a young adult, she takes us on a bumpy ride over a funny, sexy and emotionally rocky road. I guarantee you will laugh along with her and nod in recognition of our common sexual experiences while fighting with the shame and guilt her experimentation caused her psyche.
Debra shares, "When I began writing Cock Tales, I thought I was writing about sex, however, I soon came to realize that sex is an entirely different subject. There is nothing new in Cock Tales about sex, but when it comes to guilt-that is an area where I am an expert. Guilt is something that we've all experienced. It's something that most of us have taught our children. To the degree that we can liberate ourselves from the shame that strangles our most joyous impulses, we are able to live our lives as more fully realized human beings."
And what stories she tells! From her first experience touching the "member" of her year-younger uncle to having her hand grabbed and put on the "bump" in her pastor's pants as he drove her home from singing during his sermon, Debra allows us to see her natural curiosity put to the test, thinking any interest is sex would guarantee burning in Hell for all eternity.
When she reached the age of 18, Debra left Jamaica thinking men in American had to know how to treat a woman better than just a sexual object for their own pleasure. Needless to say, she was in for a rude awakening!
After her early marriage to an ultra-religious man from Iowa who could only talk about corn, and took years to even kiss her, she was happy to be a Mom to two wonderful children. But can you believe she had still never seen a man naked? And when she learned how to initiate sexual activities that would assist in the kind of sexual activities she longed to experience, he was shocked and again told the devil was inside her and she was going to burn in Hell. So Debra did what any repressed woman would do - she left him, went back to Jamaica and then spent time in Miami learning the real way to a man's heart was not by cooking for him. It was through pleasing his cock, something she was more than willing to do.
Many of the stories she told about this would make my mother wince! In fact, Debra felt she could not even get up onstage and talk about sex until her Mother retired and went back to South America. "Even my now grown children cannot believe I am doing this," she shared with me. But I thank her that she is, as there are so many other women that need to realize we are not anyone's victim to be pressed into going along with what we do not want, and we have the power to create a beautifully fulfilled sex life by being with a man who appreciates your many moods, needs, and desires without creating any shame about them. Her new mindset became, "Sex is not dirty. It's fun!"
The fact that Debra's first real lovemaking session happened with a man who took her to New York from Miami for a very upscale party, makes for a great story she tells by sharing her joy of freedom that night along with attacks of guilt and shame because she was still technically married and not divorced yet. Oh the guilt - adultery! Breaking a commandment. Oh No - Hell is at hand!
But it was eye-opening how he taught her to overcome the guilt and shame from her religious upbringing to finally reach the pinnacle of pleasure. From him, she learned the way a fulfilled sex life should be lived. And from her description of married life with her loving and handsome SECOND husband (a different man), I wish that kind of sexual freedom and fulfillment for all of us! Tell me Debra, does your husband have a single brother? I bet every woman walks out thinking the same thing - we all want a sex life just like yours!
Cock Tales director Joel Zwick directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Joel has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and for Broadway touring companies, and he is to be commended for guiding Debra to feel free to share her stories and emotions relating to her sexual awakening so honestly with an audience. We are fortunate Joel has made his home in Hollywood for the past decade and is currently directing Shake it Up for the Disney Channel. No doubt that kind of shaking will have little resemblance to Debra's onstage antics that led to the best kind of sexual shaking!
And since Debra Ehrhardt is currently working on turning her first show Jamaica Farewell into a film, perhaps the door is open for Joel to put his signature romantic comedy stamp on it. We can hope so since Debra maintains the fundamental belief that content is king, and to that end she imbues her work with tenderness, subtlety, and intensity, striving tirelessly to emphasize what makes art meaningful: honest emotion.
COCK TALES: Shame on Me! written and performed by Debra Ehrhardt, directed by Joel Zwick, continues through September 11 at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St in Santa Monica on Saturdays at 4 pm and Sundays at 6pm. Tickets are $40 with half-price tickets available in advance on Goldstar where you can read over a 100 great reviews of the show by those who have seen it. For more information, call the Santa Monica Playhouse at 310-394-9779.
Photos courtesy of Debra Ehrhardt
Debra Ehrhardt's new play, Cock Tales: Shame on Me! gives her the opportunity to share about how she got over the shame and learned to enjoy men's bodies as well as her own.
As a young girl, Debra Ehrhardt prays to be forgiven for her interest in boys' bodies.
Can you guess what Debra Ehrhardt is holding in her hand?
Debra Ehrhardt finally learns it is OK to enjoy sex without guilt. A lot of sex!