Press for Exposed
Washington Square News
Porn Pays Tuition at a Cost in 'Exposed'
by Annaluz Cabrera, Feb 15, 2017
In 2004, a Duke University freshman made headlines as the Duke Porn Star, after she was outed by fellow students. Scandalized reporters, parents and students condemned her for funding her education by making pornography. But as a Gender Studies and Sociology major, she defended her decision, causing a country wide media frenzy.
“Exposed,” a new play, tells Miriam’s harrowing story, as it spreads from her dorm room to television sets in millions of households....
Through a combination of sex scenes and extreme humiliation, the play stays true to the real story while maintaining strong themes of feminism...
The controversially charged performances and thoroughly developed characters are brought to life by Raimondi, Sherrow and Phillips....
Although the play contains several sensitive themes and messages, the team does an incredible job respecting the original story.
The play draws from original dialogue, text and audio from Weeks’ personal interviews, blog posts, tweets and porn videos. This research adds authenticity and creates thought-provoking and emotional dilemmas. Raimondi fully embodies her character and her subtle mannerisms evoke the turbulent thoughts and conflicts that plague her character throughout the performance. Meanwhile, Sherrow and Phillips convincingly play a number of multifaceted roles, ranging from her supportive best friends to her distraught and disappointed parents.
Coupled with tasteful porn scenes, the group does an excellent job of incorporating extreme — if not harsh — imagery.
Perhaps the most powerful images are the mock radio and television interviews in which Lauren is humiliated and slut-shamed for the sake of national entertainment. Her measured and smart responses make her an admirable character, who is after all, a student of Duke University. This reminds the audience that Lauren’s choices are driven by the costs of higher education.
“Exposed” manages to empathize with Lauren's experiences while still highlighting the concerns and issues regarding feminism and pornography. The play does not treat the consequences of porn stardom lightly, but does challenge viewers to see it a new light. Overall, the play is an effective way to promote discussions about misogyny, sexual discrimination and the rights of sex workers.
Furthermore, it brings attention to the extremes some students will risk to afford higher education.
by CLAUDIA TERRY
This play is an excellently crafted exploration of sexuality, gender and pornography...
It is the story of a young woman from a conservative [religious] background, Lauren. She is a well performing student at Duke University faced with large student loans. She is also a consumer of pornography and is attracted to the idea of performing in them. When she sees how much she will be paid she creates Ariel Cox, begins her career and believes that Lauren and Ariel need never collide. But all it takes is one person at Duke to put two and two together and her work goes viral, making her famous and a target for attack.
This production does one of the most difficult things in any storytelling endeavor, it builds a dialogue with its audience with an honest but not all knowing script which doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable or contradictory. It challenges and takes care of the audience.
The script is built on actual social media comments, articles written by Miriam Weeks and the imaginings of the cast. An example is how they reveal the hypocrisy of those who attack her. The most prominent to me is one that must have actually happened when Lauren is on network television for an interview and the male host says, “If I was your father I would be chomping down on a cyanide capsule right now.” Then he and his female co-anchor laughs, Lauren speaks up for herself intelligently and the audience is left with the cruelty she and her family faced.
Kudos to all the actors, Sarah Raimondi, Jacob-Sebastian Phillips, and Pauline Sherrow. for their fearless and engaging performances. And to director Kristin Heckler for creating such an effective frame work. The production is thoughtful and provokes the audience to think in new ways. I was very moved by this work and highly recommend the production.
Press for Paraphilia: Everyone Has A Sexual Disorder
Theatre is Easy
"BOTTOM LINE: Strong acting, compelling characters, an inventive script, and polished staging make this play a must see for FringeNYC-goers."
"Part of the success of this Paraphilia is how streamlined it feels..."
"...the show is well cast, with each actor fully embodying their characters..."
"I hope this production of Paraphilia appears in NYC again after the Fringe Festival."
NY Theatre Now
"If no one’s sexual preferences are “normal”, then everyone is a deviant; what a relief."
"Bravo to the brave cast who convincingly show us these private confessions. Congratulations to the talented playwright and director—who are also the show’s co-producers—for reminding us to be nice. Many of us may know stories ofpeople who were misunderstood, and deserved better."