Why does it seem that all too often recently playwrights start with a good idea, but the play ends up falling apart? It happened in Intimacy, a play about what goes on behind closed doors in a suburban community, which became a porn-fest–literally. And it happens in The Village Bike, a play about a woman’s sexual needs and desires who ends up self-destructing after she and her husband move to a small, country town.
In The Village Bike, the pregnant Becky (played by Greta Gerwig) finds her libido ramped up as just as her husband’s slows down. She resorts to watching their stash of porn DVD’s and buys a bicycle from a local man with whom she ends up having a destructive affair. She may climax, but the play just fizzles.
Perhaps because the play is written by Penelope Skinner, a British playwright, something gets lost in “translation”. Village bike, for instance, is a term for local slut in British English and I just thought meant a bicycle ridden around town. The humor, other puns and inside British jokes don’t seem to work stateside. Nor did watching an older man masturbate or watching Becky getting fake raped.
Rather than seeing a play about female empowerment, I felt embarrassed watching a woman either overcome by her out-of-control hormones, or one who was so insecure she had to seduce and be seduced to feel good about herself.
MCC Theater – The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St
Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes w/20 minute intermission
Runs through June 28, 2014
Discount tickets available at Theatermania: http://www.theatermania.com/off-broadway/discount-tickets/the-village-bike_200924/