By Dee Jae Cox
The word farce is a noun and defined as a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations. Mistaken identities, men in dresses and unexpected visitors are prerequisites.
‘Love, Sex and the IRS,’ currently in production at Desert Theatreworks, directed by Lance Phillips-Martinez, written by Jane Milmore and Billy Van Zandt, was penned in 1979 and was no doubt outdated the first time it was staged. A cross between the old sitcoms ‘Three’s Company’ and ‘Married with Children,’ this show is a reminder of what made 1970’s television the best and the worst of times.
Farces are not easy to carry off even when well written, which this one is not. Men in dresses seem pretty typical to me. But with that said, it gets really hot in the desert and sometimes hanging out for a couple of hours in an air conditioned theater and laughing at mindless antics, is just the relief from the heat that you need.
Desert Theatreworks, and their ensemble of creative and talented performers is one group that knows how to make lemonade out of lemons. ‘Love, Sex and the IRS,’ is a farcical play, set in the late 1970s New York apartment of cash-strapped musicians Jon Trachtman, (Mason McIntosh) and Leslie Arthur, (Alden Dickey). Bruce Weber’s set design was flawless, loved the period perfect striped wall design. Kate Dennis (Stephee Bonifacio) is having an affair with Leslie, even though she is engaged to Jon. Meanwhile, Jon gets a visit from IRS agent Floyd Spinner (Daniel Vaillancourt) because he has been filing tax returns claiming that Leslie was his wife in order to cut his tax bill.
Unexpected visits from Jon’s mom, Vivian, (Tiffani LoBue), Leslie’s girlfriend, Connie (Brianna Eylicio) and the apartment building manager, Mr. Jansen (Ed Lefkowitz) all contribute to creating the perfect comedic storm in a 1970’s romp sitcom fashion.
Phillips-Martinez has staged this piece as a TV comedy with laugh track and all. It works perfectly. It’s mindless fun and if you go without expectations you’ll laugh and roll your eyes a few times at the predictability, but will no doubt leave with a smile.
Love, Sex and the IRS, is targeted towards an adult audience and is a production of Desert Theatreworks. The show can be seen through June 25th at the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, located at 73750 Catalina Way in Palm Desert.
For Reservations: call 760-980-1455, or visit www.dtworks.org.
Dee Jae Cox, is a playwright, director and producer. She is the Cofounder and Artistic Director for The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project and host of the hit radio show, “California Woman 411.”