Part Time Prostitute
"Part Time Prostitute: The Secret Life of a Wellington Hooker" is a smart, witty, and captivating glimpse into the real-life experiences of a 21st century call girl.
Entering The Red Room, a theater above a bar above another theater, accessible only by a grimy old narrow staircase, you find yourself negotiating what could actually be the stairway to a private room in a seedy brothel: red walls, darkness, ruined finery.
The stage is decorated only with a bed covered in red chenille and a pile of towels, which we imagine will all be used up by the end of tonight's shift. The nightstand has your requisite oils, lubes, rubbers, and spermicidal jellies.
Enter our heroine. Rachel Walton is a pretty thirty-something with an average figure and above-average intellect. She's also a real life prostitute in Wellington, the capitol of New Zealand where hooking has been decriminalized since 2003.
We learn early on (spoiler alert) that the names in the program are all her aliases. She has written, conceived, inspired, directed, and is performing -- not a piece of theater -- but a lecture that offers a truly one-of-a-kind perspective on the oldest profession in its most modern incarnation.
Rachel has been keeping a detailed log of each of the 341 shifts she has worked over the past two years during which she has had sex with 197 men for money. (Clearly she has a few repeat customers since she has never worked a shift without a booking.)
The records she has kept and the insights she has gained from studying her compiled data are what eventually inspired this show. The way she has drawn conclusions and made claims based on the observation of her clients' behavior are down-right scientific...and fascinating.
For instance, 100% of the clients who have requested sex without a condom (don't worry, they didn't get it) had been circumcised. The conclusion she draws from this fact is that circumcision leads to such reduced sexual sensation in males that they are willing to have sex with a whore, without a condom, just to feel something.
It's a very interesting claim, and it's backed up by her data. Her brief diatribe against circumcision stops just short of getting over-political, but not before we see that she is obviously on her clients' side. In some way, she's a consumer advocate.
What's really refreshing about "Part Time Prostitute" is its point of view toward sex. In this age of Rick Santorum's vow to criminalize gay sex and Rush Limbaugh labeling birth control users as "sluts", it is positively encouraging to hear someone broach the subject of human sexuality in a way that is straightforward, nonjudgmental, and realistic. Sadly, you don't get that a lot in America.
Not only is Rachel unashamed of her sexual proclivities, but she also feels no moral guilt for being a sex worker. Having previously worked as a stripper in Scotland, she says, "as a hooker I feel like I'm doing a lot more for society."
In fact the only ethical dilemma she has run into is with faking orgasms (which, by the way, she has done 11% of the time). For Rachel, it is questionable to send men from the brothel back into the world believing they are better lovers than they actually are.
Beyond her sexily matter-of-fact turn of phrase and her universally fascinating subject matter, Rachel is also funny. The audience sits spellbound while she takes us through a hypothetical "booking," from shower to massage to blowjob to intercourse to happy ending, and everything in between.
It's worth the price of a ticket just to hear a few of the anecdotes she tells about her individual clients and her strangest bookings. And she throws in a few tips and tricks to help us all out in the bedroom.
Who wouldn't want advice from a professional?
"Part Time Prostitute" is presented by Porkpie Productions and Horse Trade Theater Group, and runs through March 28 at The Red Room, 85 E. 4th St. For info or tickets call 212-868-4444 or visit horsetrade.info