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THE PLEASURE TRIALS by Sarah Saltwick is now playing a MOXIE Theatre through September 11th and ponders “What does a woman really want?”

This comedy-drama about two research scientists Dr. Rachel MIlan (Sarah Alida LeClair) and her young research assistant Callie (Sutheshna “Suthe” Mani) working on a drug to combat an ailment Callie has named FDDD: Female Desire Deficit Disorder.

 Sutheshna "Suthe" Mani and Sarah Alida LeClair in THE PLEASURE TRIALS (Courtesy of Daren Scott)
Sutheshna “Suthe” Mani and Sarah Alida LeClair in THE PLEASURE TRIALS (Courtesy of Daren Scott)

The drug hopes to increase the libido of the woman participating in the controlled experiment, so Rachel and Callie can present the findings for funding further study and hopefully mass market to the public. The trial participants all are there for varying reasons but are all played by Andréa Agosto.

Andrea Agosto as Jen in THE PLEASURE TRIALS (Courtesy of Daren Scott)

As the researchers and the participants find out, women’s desires and libido are complicated, nuanced, and not easily quantified. A lower sex drive can be explained by many things – low desire, exhaustion, pain during intercourse, desiring people other than your partner, and a pill would be hard pressed to “cure” all reasons at once.

LeClair’s Rachel is a deliberate, brittle, and cold, one who seems so rigid that one wonders if the pill she creates is actually a “physician heal thyself” attempt to loosen up. Mani’s Callie is her opposite; funny, warm, talkative, and impulsive – so while both are working towards the same goal their approaches are not always in sync.

Agosto is excellent as she transforms into many patients with a variety of personalities, and energy- all hoping to get something out of this study that will help them in their personal life.

Cellist Sharon Taylor in THE PLEASURE TRIALS (Courtesy of Daren Scott)

The play is also enhanced by the beautiful music of the onstage cellist Sharon Taylor – who is a clever musical compliment providing everything from songs to ring tones.

The set design by Yi-Chien Lee is a pink candy store of pharmaceuticals and is highlighted by Sierra Shreve’s lighting design.

Capably directed by Marti Gobel, the play is a challenge as it starts as a comedy-drama, with a mid-second act farce when someone ingests too many pills. The first act strives for something to happen and the second act has too much happening -which makes for a muddled feeling at the end.

By looking at the cause and effect of women’s desire THE PLEASURE TRIALS does offer an interesting look into a topic that is often under-explored both in academia and real life.

How To Get Tickets

THE PLEASURE TRIALS is playing at MOXIE Theatre through September 11th. For tickets and showtime information go to

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