The Daily Trojan
Written by Jessica Emerson. Vol. 135, No. 44 Wednesday, November 4, 1998
'Adam and Eva Marie' Rib-Tickling
The play's title, "Adam and Eva Marie," might sound hokey, but this independent production, performed in a tiny, converted apartment in mid-Wilshire, is anything but that.
"Eva Marie" has only three characters: Adam (Jimmie F. Skaggs), a psychotherapist on the verge of a midlife crisis; Eva Marie (Jolene Adams), a prostitute and recovering drug addict looking to barter therapy for sex; and Lillith (Leslie Hunt), a phone sex operator whom Adam turns to in desperation.
Indeed, Adam turns out to have far more self-respect than expected, and Eva Marie is wise enough to identify her various neuroses and seek help, offering the only asset she believes she has. Thus, the play unfolds from a questionable premise into a provocative drama full of humor, tragedy and wonderful catharsis.
This is due largely in part to a well-crafted script by playwright Michael Solomon. Solomon, a licensed psychotherapist and psychodramatist, is enjoying a long run of his first professional production. "Eva Marie" was re-opened for a limited engagement after running for two successful years.
Adams plays her part with particular aptitude, bouncing around the stage in a number of creative lingerie outfits, but it is when she puts on jeans and a T-shirt to go on a trip that her character really begins to unfold. This woman is not just a whore - she's a girl who goes home for Thanksgiving to visit her mother just like the rest of us.
Skaggs has an equally impressive presence and keeps up with Adams every step of the way. His sporadic monologues eventually reveal to the audience that his character needs Eva Marie's therapeutic friendship as much as she needs his professional help.
Eva Marie is the mythical temptress, offering Adam not only sex but a glimpse into her brave life, which is filled with abuse, molestation and power struggles. The biblical allusion comes full circle with Adam's fall, as he betrays the ethical standard of his profession and his redemption when he falls in love with Eva Marie and finds they have healed in the process.
"Eva Marie" will appeal to a wide variety of people, including actors wishing to see a fine example of their own art, drama enthusiasts, aspiring writers and psychology students. As Adam and Eva Marie find healing through each other, the audience might find the production refreshingly therapeutic.
Copyright 1998 by The Daily Trojan. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Vol. 135, No. 44 (Wednesday, November 4, 1998), on page 7.