World Premiere Of SEX & OTHER DISTURBANCES Comes to Portland Stage

Portland Stage presents the world premiere of New England playwright Marisa Smith's latest play, Sex and Other Disturbances, May 1-20.

When your husband is too busy buying cabins in Newfoundland for the apocalypse, what's the harm in having a little affair? This delightful and insightful comedy flips the script on a classical sexual romp. Instead of a strong male gaze aimed at a female ingénue, we see Sarah, a woman in middle age, gazing at a younger man in her acting classes and dishing about it with her best friend Ruth. As Sarah contemplates an affair, she and Ruth must negotiate how this will affect their relationship. When your friendship has been through it all: school, boyfriends, husbands, children, the works- what happens when a little fling threatens to change everything? With Sex and Other Disturbances, the audience is taken on a wild ride; at times both hilarious and heartwarming.

With an original and often hilarious story, playwright Marisa Smith takes a look at modern marriage, affairs, and more importantly: the friendship between two women. As Portland Stage Executive and Artistic Director Anita Stewart states, "one of my favorite things about this play is the great friendship that Marisa creates between Ruth and Sarah. They are two women who are willing to call each other out, but in the end are determined to support one another through thick and thin. It is a joy to watch them work as a team and discover what they need to do to move forward with their lives."

Interestingly, when researching the play, Smith found that "despite the increased acceptance of divorce and sexual orientation in society, today infidelity remains a huge taboo in America. According to psychoanalyst and writer Ester Perel, the rate of married women who report they've been unfaithful has increased by 40% since 1990, while the rate among married men has remained the same. Obviously, if these statistics are true, there are many, many reasons for this increase in female cheating. My play explores one woman's journey." And for Director Nadia Tass, "by choosing to have an affair, a woman is once again exploring what she is capable of as she enters the world of the liberated modern woman. In Sex and Other Disturbances, protagonist Sarah begins as a passive, needy woman. Would an affair be the catalyst for her enlightenment and empowerment to control the next chapter of her life? What lies beyond the kitchen, the children, and her husband?"

Sex and Other Disturbances was workshopped as part of the Portland Stage 2017 Little Festival of the Unexpected.

Sex and Other Disturbances is a recipient of a 2018 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

Marisa Smith is an award-winning American playwright. Full-length plays include: Saving Kitty (Eliot Norton award for Jennifer Coolidge Best Actress), and Mad Love (Northern Stage, New Jersey Repertory) which is also an audio drama produced by Wondery called The Defenestrator. Marisa's 10-Minute plays have been produced in the Boston Marathon of 10-Minute Plays, Barrington Stage and in many other theaters around the country. Screenplays: Second Wind and Surprise Engagement for producer/director Andrew Silver starring English actors June Brown, Harriet Walter and Tamzin Merchant, and Tamzin Outhwaite. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Marisa is also the co-Publisher and owner of Smith and Kraus Publishers.

Portland Stage is proud to welcome Verdante at Lincoln Park, a new project from NewHeight Group, as our sponsor for Sex & Other Disturbances. We have long valued the support of Principals Susan Morris and Chip Newell, and we are thrilled to partner with NewHeight Group as a first-time show sponsor.

Located along Franklin and Federal Streets, Verdante at Lincoln Park offers contemporary urban living in Portland's East End. NewHeight Group is a Maine-based real estate development and services firm with decades of experience. More than a company, it's a group of people dedicated to elevating lifestyles, transforming communities, and, ultimately, making Maine an even better place to live. NewHeight Group takes a Fusionist approach to development, with projects that bring together life, work, and play.

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