MOXIE Theatre Welcomes 18th Season with San Diego Premiere of The Pleasure Trials

A Great and Modern Production that Puts Important Topics on the Table  

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

Sarah Alida LeClair in The Pleasure Trials Photo Daren Scott
MOXIE Theatre amazes me every time with the awesome stories they produce. Celebrating both the beginning of their 18th season and the San Diego premiere of Sarah Saltwick's The Pleasure Trials with an all-women production team, Trials' explores clinical trials for a new female libido enhancement drug geared toward women that need a little boost in the sexual relations department. The candidates come from all sorts of backgrounds, married, with boyfriends, frustrated, etc.

Dr. Rachel Milan (Sarah Alida LeClair) has been working on this "pink pill" for many years and is really feeling the pressure for it to be a success. She has Callie (Sutheshna (Suthe) Mani) a young and eager colleague that conducted a thesis on the subject matter and also wants this to succeed wishing it will give her credibility and respect. Milan is a total workaholic and has her own way and rhythm of doing things while Callie is a bit all over the place and clashes with the flow of things. This is more due to her inexperience, youth, and huge longing for everything to work out. Once the patients see a vast improvement in their lives with desires and activity, the what is next question pops in wondering if this is continued treatment, if is it over, or how things are going to continue to work when not taking the pill.

There are various aspects to take away and appreciate from this story. First, the realness of the topic and how women can relate, second the ongoing gender gap still happening today that the play mocks implying the blue pill viagra and how it was this "revolutionizing" hullabaloo for men but when the women's version comes out, then it is not as exciting and has to be somewhat contained and regulated. It also puts across-the-board life analogies of the mentioned gap.

Sutheshna (Suthe) Mani and Sarah Alida LeClair in The Pleasure Trials. Photo by Daren Scott.

The production is paced and it reflects care. The gorgeous, detailed set design by Chien Lee is definitely like a supporting role in the piece as is Sharon Taylor a cellist who accompanies the performance both by accentuating key moments and doing special sound effects like a cell phone ring. It adds so much to the play as well as a very classy, sophisticated feel.

The cast is well directed by Marti Gobel who we saw in Cygnet Theatre's production of Mud Row. Sarah Alida LeClair as the obsessed Dr. Milan has a good rhythm and takes audiences through the story very softly. Sometimes her lines got a little tongue twisty but it was still very solid. Nice to see Ms. Mani debut at MOXIE with the role of Callie where she is intense, corky, and funny. Loved her outfits put together by designer Regan A. McKay. Total standing ovation for Andréa Agosto who portrays all of the patients changing costumes, wigs, and accents giving it 100. The talent is really put out there and it is wonderful to see. 

Cellist Sharon Taylor in The Pleasure Trials. Photo by Daren Scott

Congratulations MOXIE for reaching season 18 an important number, and for putting these topics on the table along with their in-between-the-lines and reality mirrors.

The Pleasure Trials is currently playing until September 11. Rush tickets are available for $15 dollars one hour prior to each performance. For times and dates please click HERE. And, for surrounding events, click HERE.


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