Not a Political Statement

Las Vegan Ernie Curcio lived in New York for five years as a budding stage director, but he avoided going to see all the anti-Bush and anti-war plays there. It’s not that they insulted him politically. He just found them kind of redundant.

“Political theater is something I try to stay away from, because it’s like, geesh you’re preaching to the choir,” Curcio says. “OK, man, can you say anything that’s good?

Now the onus is on Curcio to say something good in a political play he’s directing at the Onyx Theatre, debuting tonight. It’s called “7 Blowjobs,” a satire penned by three-time Obie-winning playwright Mac Wellman.

The six-actor play begins with a homophobic Southern Republican receiving a delivery of sex photos. He freaks out, prays and calls on a reverend. The politician and repressed Republicans in his circle experience a range of raw emotions while examining the photos, damning the pictures while also feeling arousal and other natural reactions.

When Curcio’s company, Cockroach Theatre, did the first read-through of the satire, it was clear there were scenes stacked with comic elements. But Curcio wanted to take the play “dead serious.”

“It’s not a political statement,” he says. “That’s the thing we’ve been trying to avoid immensely. … We want to get to the heart of these characters and humanity.”

“In this kind of play, it’s easy to say, ‘(expletive) you,’ and have a laugh at everyone’s expense. But in Cockroach’s hands, it’s going to be something human,” Onyx director John Beane says. “The great satire is ultimately about ourselves.”

These are parodies of Republicans who convulse, drool and become “wiggly” (according to stage directions), while dealing with bottled-up sexuality. Like satire generally, it’s not supposed to adhere to realism. But a goal of Curcio’s is to make them empathetic and not two-dimensional punch lines.

Hypocritical characters “condemn people,” Curcio says. “But they themselves are being turned on, until they disintegrate,” melt, erupt or face other consequences.

Cockroach landed on this play because the group wanted to do a Wellman script, and the presidential election made this one topical.

The setting is a throwback to the cultural wars of the past generation. Wellman wrote the 1991 play after Sen. Jesse Helms went on a rampage against photo artists supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wellman’s writing has been described as esoteric and experimental, among other adjectives.

“He does a lot of style like Gertrude Stein, where it repeats but changes” incrementally for effect, Curcio says. Some lines include, “I am not a pervert. I went to Bob Jones University,” as well as, “Can you please not use your imagination?” and “That is not a blowjob. That is the Pope,” according to a review of a production elsewhere.

Two knocks against the play in other cities have been its static stage direction and verbal repetition. In other productions, characters deliver long monologues standing in place. Curcio wants to get around that by stylizing the physicality. Beane says Cockroach presents plays with a “muscular, visceral take on things.”

As for onstage sexuality, there are clothed depictions of gyrating. But sex isn’t naked-y in this production.

“Not this one. Maybe the midnight show,” Curcio jokes. “Just give the audience participation that night.”

Contact Doug Elfman at 702-383-0391 or He blogs at

WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like