There won’t be much physical action in “Married Sex,” Washington, D.C.-based playwright Laura Zam’s latest work. And, truthfully, like the complaints of many long-married couples, the sex in this one-woman show is really just a starting point to discuss relationships, traumas and healing. But the play, which makes its New York debut August 10 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, takes audiences on a wild and emotional ride through what might be called the sex industrial complex.
Zam can be sharply sarcastic, witty, rueful and revealing about what goes on, or doesn’t, in the marital bedroom. She’s particularly open about her own sex life and the problems she’s encountered along the way to what is now a happy and fulfilling married life.
But it took her a long time to get there. Now 49, Zam, a solo performer and playwright, has had her work produced around the country, including at The Public Theater in New York, The Kennedy Center and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as in more intimate settings including workshops for wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; workshops for women who have been raped; dialogues between Israeli Jewish and Arab teens; and a program for disenfranchised youths in Southwest Washington. In her earlier play, “Collaterally Damaged,” Zam explored her mother’s experience as a survivor of Auschwitz alongside accounts of contemporary genocide, putting a spotlight on ravaged regions such as Darfur, Rwanda and Bosnia.
“Married Sex” explores another type of survivor — one of child sexual abuse — and delves deeply into Zam’s difficult experience as a victim of not one but two sexual predators.