Joe Santos, Peter Burnell, Ann Whiteside.
THE OLATHE RESPONSE [Drama/Crime/Homosexuality/Sex] A: Jack Marshall; D: Rene Enriquez; S: Jim Hardy; C: Alexis Blassini; M: Joe Cain; P: Rene Enriquez and Jack Marshall; T: Actors Playhouse (OB): 4/5/71-4/10/71 (6)
Clive Barnes typified the response to this play when he wrote, “It is the worst play I have seen this season, and I doubt anyone’s ability to have seen a worse one.”
It deals with a naïve, innocent youth (Peter Burnell) from Olathe, Kansas, who comes to New York. He gets mixed up with a gay man (Joe Santos) and a nymphomaniac (Ann Whiteside) whose apartment he visits because they claim to have gone to school with his mother. Willing to learn from them the rudiments of sophisticated behavior, he becomes their victim in a weird sex game in which he must choose between them, a feat made difficult by their appearing to him in odd masks disguising their identity. Soon, he is stripped and forced to commit a sacrificial suicide with a dagger. A black mass is chanted by his tormentors over his glass-coffined body.
To Joseph Mazo this was “a trite, pretentious exercise in theatrical futility with no relevance to anything inside or outside the theatre.” Richard Watts called it “a woebegone and hopeless enterprise.”