If ever a performance could make you consider a career in phone sex, itâs this one. Tonya Jone Millerâs one-woman show A Story of Oâs spans the decade Miller has spent working as a self-proclaimed âaural courtesan.â During that time, sheâs faked (and actually had) orgasms, obliged in the sometimes unconventional fetishes of her clients, and role-played many a womanâblondes and brunettes and robots included. With piercing brown eyes and a glass of wine in hand, Miller vividly re-enacts conversations sheâs had on the job. The semi-improvised showâwhich takes place, fittingly, in a room filled with nude paintings and photosâoffers several laugh-out-loud moments, as when Miller plays out in extraordinary detail a clientâs fantasy of robot hypnosis, or when a callerâs anal fetish quickly escalates to include fire hydrants. (âThatâs the most insatiable asshole Iâve ever heard of!â Miller gasps.) But the showâs momentum relies not on mere erotic absurdity. Rather than reducing her clients to caricatures, Miller humanizes them. Thereâs Richard, whose wife died a year ago of breast cancer and who causes Miller to reckon with her own bodily anxieties. Thereâs Daniel, a man paralyzed from the waist down who achieves sexual satisfaction only through mental and verbal stimulation. And then thereâs Jonathan, with whom Miller shares her own fantasies and fetishes, resulting in a five-year intimacy she still misses today. âMy callers donât pay me for sex,â she says. âThey pay me for acceptance.â The showâs message is clear and sex-positive: We all have our quirks, and we all want to be loved. Just one quibble: At barely an hour, it isnât long enough. But I guess nothing good ever is.
SEE IT: A Story of O's is at Catalyst Art & Culture Space, 4810 NE Garfield Ave., 888-367-1117. 7:30 pm Fridays, July 18 and 25, and 8 pm Saturday, July 19. $12. 18+.