Cocktales: Nymphomania in Midtown Miami
Tjasa Ferme and her ladyparts.
Little Eve is taking a bath with her father and playing with her rubber ducky. She sees something in the water that looks odd. "Daddy, Daddy, is that your rubber ducky?" she asks, eyes wide, in her baby voice.
Then she tugs on it.
"It becomes a moment of oops," explains actress and playwright Tjasa Ferme. "After pulling it, she realizes it's attached... And that's when he tells her it's a pee-pee," she says, laughing as she mimics tugging on an imaginary rubber duck.
This is one of the many tales shared with the audience during Cocktales: Confessions of a Nymphomaniac, which opens at Bardot in midtown this week. Six years ago, Ferme wrote and began performing this one-woman show, which started as a retelling of the life of Eve in the Garden of Eden. But a year later, she met Nancy Manocherian and Kira Simring of the Cell, a theater company and salon in New York City. They helped her rework the play and develop it to include a healthy mix of both male and female characters.
The premise of the contemporary version of Cocktales is the following: Eve has left the garden and ended up on the set of a talk show. The oh-so-wise Dr. Truth — a kind of take on the famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth — is taping an episode when Eve "barges onto the set and sort of says, 'I'm a nymphomaniac, and I wish you could help me,'" Ferme explains. "And then Dr. Truth takes her on as her patient and starts treating her in front of the audience."
What follows is a tale that incorporates humor with a serious undertone. There are flashbacks, some dancing, and, of course, hunky studs.
Though Cocktales aims to be comical, Ferme admits she wants the ultimate message to be that just because women enjoy and crave sex does not make them nymphomaniacs. She shares the stories that women are afraid to tell and the thoughts that women are afraid to think. In the end, "everybody has a reveal, everybody comes full circle, and you learn how even the men are confused about female sexuality," she says.
"It's a very exponential piece about female sexuality," adds Manocherian, who's producing the play. "Underlying is a feminist message, so it's not all fun and games. It's a reveal about her coming of age... and it goes through all of her various experiences as a sexual person."
Cocktales has played in both large and small venues across New York City. It has never appeared in Miami, though, and Bardot is the first nightclub where the play has been produced. "It was like the meeting of two interests," Ferme explains. "Nancy wanted to bring something to Miami and do it in a nontraditional venue, and Bardot was looking to break into more unconventional things because that's their 'thing.'"
The intimately sized venue will require the production team to adjust the blocking. Because the audience will be so close, there will be some interaction — maybe a lap dance or two. But mostly, the audience will serve as spectators to Dr. Truth's show.
With this run of Cocktales, Manocherian hopes to "tap into" South Florida's distinctive audience and "contribute to the Miami theater scene and help develop it."