Dr. Ruth may be the most famous senior citizen championing the joys of sex, but she's not the only one. Joan Hotchkis, best known for playing Oscar Madison's girlfriend, Nancy, on TV's The Odd Couple, is currently doing a solo show at Highways Theatre in L.A. The topic? Sexuality and aging.
According to Variety, Elements Of Flesh lets the the 69-year-old actress "relive significant moments in her sexual experience and blend them with general observations intimately shared with the audience."
Hotchkis' show, which played at Highways in spring 1996, is returning running Feb. 6-March 9. The show will then play at Sushi in San Diego, March 27-29 & April 3-6. Among the characters played by Hotchkis are Chuck, a 75-year-old widower recalling passionate moments with his 80-year-old wife. Hotchkis speaks of the mixed signals on sexuality she received from her mother thus: "She was trying to secure my heterosexuality while preserving my virginity."
Asked about the show's "shock value," Hotchkis told Cathy Curtis of the Los Angeles Times, "The `shock value' is in being myself and wanting to say these things [about aging], and having the training in writing and acting to say them well, and having the age to say them in a way that's not confrontational, that people can take in. It's having a lot of dignity and a lot of just plain honesty, without anger."
The show, directed by Clifford Bell, augments Hotchkis' anecdotes with erotic poetry, original music (Bronwen Jones) and home movie clips. The writer/actress' previous solo, Tearsheets, won a Fringe First Award at the 1992 Edinburgh Festival. Trained by Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg, Hotchkis made her Broadway debut in Advise And Consent. Other acting assignments include Mama Hartley in the film Ode To Billy Joe, and her play Legacy, which was adapted into a feature film. She is also the author (with Eric Morris) of the acting manual, No Actors Please. For tickets ($15-$20) and information on Elements Of Flesh at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, call (213) 660-8587.
--By David Lefkowitz