Wednesday, October 19, 2022

San Jose Stage presents 'Sex With Strangers'


Ethan (Matthew Kropshot) and Olivia (Allison F. Rich) share a bottle of wine. (Photo by Dave Lepori)

Two strangers meet at an inn in Michigan during a blizzard. After some talk about mutual interests, they’re not exactly strangers any more in Laura Eason’s “Sex With Strangers,” presented by San Jose Stage Company.

Ethan (Matthew Kropschot) is a presumptuous 28-year-old author-blogger. Olivia (Allison F. Rich) is a 39-year-old teacher and a published but not well known author.

He says he admires her writing and wants to connect her with his agent, who could have her next book published as an ebook. She’s not interested. She wants a real book that she can hold in her hands.

He also tells her about his blog and his books, “Sex With Strangers” and “Sex With Strangers 2.”

Those books chronicle his escapades after a bet with his buddies that he could bed a different woman every week for a year. After reading it, Olivia is disgusted at his utter disregard for women.

These conversations are interrupted by sudden rounds of passion (offstage during ear-splitting rock music in Steve Schoenbeck’s sound design).

Act 2 takes place in Olivia’s Chicago apartment just after Ethan returns from a trip to New York. There’s more talk and more sex, but eventually he leaves and she apparently stays, but both of them have changed for the better.

Director Johnny Moreno paces the play well, avoiding the pitfalls that might come with only two characters. He also happens to have two gifted actors with Kropschot and especially Rich, a San Jose Stage favorite.

The set and lighting are by Maurice Vercoutere with costumes by Jean Cardinale.

Running about two hours with an intermission, “Sex With Strangers” will continue through Oct. 30 at San Jose Stage Company, 490 S. First St., San Jose.

For tickets and information, call (408) 283-7142 or go to