Getting Unstuck: separating the sex from the love

Playwright Evan Tsitsias is a believer in the seven year itch and is convinced that most relationships are bound to that inevitability.  In his new play Unstuck though Tsitsias goes beyond a mere re-evaluation of a long-term relationship that has gone stale sexually, challenging his audience to separate the sex from love and to question the programming from what he calls the “hetero-normative lifestyle”.

Evan TsitsiasUnstuck is a simple story with complex themes,” insists Tsitsias (photo right). “On the eve of their tenth anniversary a third person is introduced into the relationship of Matt and Tim, as a sort of present to help create a spark in the relationship.  It isn’t just about their sex lives though, but it opens up a whole discussion around the relationship in general.”

It is that distinction between sex and relationships that Tsitsias keeps coming back to, attempting to break down the barriers that he sees we place on ourselves and each other.

“It starts off as sexual, bringing in someone to spice up their lives,” he admits, “but then the layers start to get peeled away a bit and this idea emerges that it is not just about sex.”

While not auto-biographical, Tsitsias does admit to pulling much of the play’s reality from his own thoughts around relationships and cites a seemingly innocent interaction with his boyfriend from a few years ago as one of the inspirations to writing the play.

“One day my boyfriend gave me a small peck on the cheek instead of a kiss and that got me wondering about that moment in a relationship where a kiss becomes that peck,” recalls Tsitsias.  “We laughed about it at the time, but it got me to wondering what if it wasn’t actually funny and it meant more?  I wrote a scene about that and it grew into this play.”

Kevin Kraussler, Sean Harris Oliver and Ari Solomon in Evan Tsitsias' Unstuck.
Ari Solomon, Sean Harris Oliver and Kevin Kraussler in Evan Tsitsias’ Unstuck.

With the original draft for the play written four years ago, the play has been work-shopped in Toronto and as part of Screaming Weenie’s Clean Sheets, a development series for original queer-themed plays, in Vancouver last year.

“It was pretty vital to everything,” says Tsitsias of the opportunity Clean Sheets provided him in writing Unstuck.  “Until you hear the voices and see how an audience reacts to it, you just don’t know.  Clean Sheets gave us the opportunity to see how an audience reacted and we were able to work the piece based on that reaction.”

Now ready for its world premiere and coming full circle from last year’s Clean Sheets, Tsitsias hopes audiences will walk away thinking about how we are programmed to think a certain way about relationships.

“I’m obsessed with programming,” laughs Tsitsias.  “We are all so programmed in our lives about how we think about things.  Sometimes we don’t always see how difficult it is to gauge our moral compass.  I want an audience to think about why they might feel the way they do about the decisions the characters make in the play.”

Unstuck
16 – 23 March 2013
PAL Studio Theatre

It’s Matt and Tim’s 10 year anniversary. Tim has something to propose. So does Matt. Outside their cozy home, a war rages. But when the proverbial knock at the door arrives, Matt and Tim must re-examine not only their proposals, but their entire relationship. Their guest of honour ignites a tornado of doubt, as the three spend the night exploring the rocky terrain of monogamy, sex and love. Visit http://www.screamingweenie.com for tickets and information.

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