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The Empress of Sex

Written by Duncan Pflaster

A woman, spurned in love, finds a deserted island and sets herself up as
The Empress Salacia, decreeing that there shall be no love allowed in her domain, only sex.
She gathers some sybaritic acolytes, and all is frolicsome mindless fun until
Salacia's ex-lover Agis comes to the island in disguise, to attempt to win her back.


The first full production of The Empress of Sex had 8 performances as part of the 2012 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.

You can buy and read the script online at Indie Theatre Now!



Backstage review of the original production: "But don't let the overinflated language, stylized acting, and copious nudity fool you; playwright Duncan Pflaster has more in mind than mere silliness or titillation. Underneath the high jinks there is ample evidence of a canny dramatist intent on exploring the complex relationship between love and sex without sacrificing laughs or a genuinely touching payoff."

NYTheater.com review of the original production: The Empress of Sex is in many ways, Pflaster's take on a Shakespearean comedy- Twelfth Night and As You Like It immediately come to mind. Catherine LeFrere's melancholy Empress is a descendant of Olivia, but instead of channeling her grief into abstinence, she channels it into as much meaningless sex as possible. Portieris, her spiritual advisor, played beautifully by Walter Brandes, is an Orlando or Orsino, while Adriana (played with hilarious facial reactions by Erin Soler) is a Viola, playing the male confidante to a man with whom she is secretly in love. Pflaster expertly uses other Shakespearean conventions-a lost letter, a dumb show, and a bard-to great comedic effect.

Three staged readings happened in 2011!
  1. Hive DesignThe Hive Theatre Collective produced a benefit reading on
    Monday, January 24th at 8pm,
    at The Midtown Theatre at HA! Comedy Club
    at 163 West 46th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenue).
    Featuring the infamous NSFW promotional bookmark!
    More info at the link!




  2. Duncan DesignAnd there was a Staged Reading
    Saturday February 5th at 6pm,
    as part of MTWorks' NewBorn Festival,
    and directed by Glory Kadigan,
    which won the Audience Favorite Award in the festival, and
    was given a 2nd performance on Sunday, February 6th.




  3. Messaline Oberon Theatre Ensemble had a staged reading Monday, September 26th at 7pm,
    part of their annual Fall Reading Series
    at The Lambs, 3 West 51st Street, 5th Floor
    in a production directed by Joan Kane.



Semi-Finalist, About Face Theatre's 2010 XYZ Festival of New Work:
"The Empress of Sex was so exciting in its boldness, scope, bravery, and hilarity.
It was very interesting to experience a world that disassociates love from its
'former partner' sex and dares to fully examine what that entails for the specific characters
that were created. A truly enjoyable theatrical experience." - Feedback from About Face adjudicator



Main Design altered from an Aubrey Beardsley drawing.
Hive logo by Justin Couchara
MTWorks logo by Duncan Pflaster, from a design by Alphonse Mucha
Marble background texture from www.grsites.com.