The Prostitute of Reverie Valley
nytheatre.com review by Kimberly Wadsworth
August 11, 2006
At the start of Adam Klasfeld's The Prostitute of Reverie Valley, the Prostitute (Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris) is getting ready to leave. The little town in Reverie Valley is all she's ever known—but something has always bothered her about it. Nobody is ever born in the town, for starters—either families move in with children, or children are dropped off at the orphanage, like she was. More to the point for her, though, she is a prostitute in name only—she talks about sex with her johns, but none of them has ever let her touch them. "The prostitute is the only virgin in town," she complains. She wants to leave, see more of the world, find her mother. One of her johns (Robert Kya-Hill) comes to stop her, explain the mystery behind the town and behind her parents—and the reason no one can ever leave.
The mystery of the town is actually a clever one—which is why I was disappointed that all the mysteries were solved only 25 minutes into the play. The john and the prostitute, both unnamed throughout, do get caught up in conversation for the half-hour remaining in the play; Kya-Hill especially warms to a fantastical story about exploring a tropical island. But once you know the truth of Reverie Valley and its prostitute, the show's end and the prostitute's choice are inevitable, and all their talk feels like just killing time.
Under Sherri Kronfeld's direction, Luqmaan-Harris does fine work as the prostitute, particularly in a scene when she turns one last "trick" for her john; she lets us see the winsome face she puts on for him, and occasionally, wordlessly lets slip what she really thinks of her lot. The performances, the production elements—all are fine. It's just a disappointment that the plot twist comes prematurely, so to speak.