There was a time not long ago when gay men resorted to cruising parks or spending hours in dark bars to search for sex and, perhaps, more. The advent of the smartphone and apps like Grindr, Scruff, Growlr and Craig’s List made the process quicker and easier.
“Hook Ups Vol. 1,” a collection of short, two-man plays opening this weekend at Andrews Living Arts in Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village, explores that primal search for physical release and emotional connection made possible by technology.
Playwright and producer Ronnie Larsen came up with the idea to stage short plays this summer and put out a national call for submissions. He selected the eight best plays for the production, which runs through Sept. 23.
“I was so impressed with all the plays,” he said. “Some are funny and others are edgy, but they’re all about sex and what happens when you look for love on a dating app.”
Many of the scenarios will be familiar to audiences who have tried the online apps:
Brett Evan Solomon’s "Grindr Play #1" introduces a lonely, horny man who opens a Grindr account, only to be hit with a flood of dick pics.
In "Hotter Than Thoreau" by Julie Zaffarano, one has second thoughts as the clothes start to come off during an encounter and a rash decision is made.
When two men hook up via dating app on the phone, one then refuses to put the phone down long enough to actually focus on the date in Greg Charleston’s “BTWITILY.”
And, a man tests the limits of another before the sex even starts in "The Quickie" by Donna Hoke.
Other plays explore the kinds of kinks that can be explored more freely in an anonymous sexual encounter:
Two worlds collide when a “furry” meets a non-furry and one of them undergoes a major transformation in "Every Inch Counts" by Irene L. Pynn. (Furries are people who are sexually aroused wearing animal costumes.)
In "A Different Client" by Josh Hartwell, a hustler gets a request to do something he's never done before and it's so different, he's not sure he can actually go through with it.
“Hook Ups Vol. 1” marks Larsen’s first foray into the short play genre. He has written many full-length plays, including the Off Broadway hit “Making Porn,” and recently began producing full length plays by other playwrights since relocating to Pompano Beach this spring.
"The plays are provocative and funny and thought-provoking and the biggest challenge was weaving them together into a cohesive evening of theater,” he explained.
Armed with more new plays and strong advance ticket sales, Larsen already plans a second “volume” for later this year or early 2018.
Ronnie Larsen presents “Hook Ups Vol. 1” from Sept. 1 – 23 at Andrews Living Arts Studio, 23 NW 5th St. in Fort Lauderdale. Warning: The play contains male nudity and explicit sexual material. Tickets are $35 – 50 at RonnieLarsen.com.