SALT LAKE CITY — Role Play, written by Ariana Broumas Farber and directed by Morag Shepherd with co-director Brenda Hattingh Peatross, is an interesting look at sex, consent, excitement, communication, and love. Starring Farber as an actress looking for a part that would encompass the love she is missing in her life and Tyson Baker as a writer with whom she hopes to find that part, the story takes some unexpected twists that kept me on my feet and actually had me gasping at the end.
When attending Fringe, a rating system has been implemented and the R rating for this production is justified because Role Play does not shy away from intense and sometimes triggering subject matter, such as domestic violence. However, the company does handle the intense themes of the play with grace. While the depiction is jarring, it is still respectful. Moreover, the advertising for Role Play and a pre-show announcement indicate that the safety of the actors has been paramount.
The sound design, also by Shepherd, was a good addition to the production, adding a heightened emotion to the experience. Role Play left me feeling overcome with thoughts of relationships, communication, and passion. The chemistry between Farber and Baker was strong, and their ability to go between flirtation, humor, and anger within just a moment was very impressive. The themes within this show were many, and I am not completely sure I caught them all. Role Play is certainly a show that would benefit from more than one viewing.