‘Friends with Benefits’ brings a punch of realness in both its language and messages
Let’s see if I can get all these “Friends with Benefits” relationships straight:
Gigi is promised a job at the fictional radio station Hype 107 by Kirk when and if she moves to New Providence from Mayaguana, which she does, because she’s in love with Kirk, the station owner, whom she had been seeing for only a couple of weeks when he visited her island. Kirk has a fiancée, Shannon, who is in school in London – so Gigi is really just one side chick, amongst a stable of side chicks – because, as he puts it, the easiest woman to run game on is a single woman in Nassau as there is a man shortage. He says women rather be unhappy than single.
According to Gigi, she doesn’t care what a man says with his mouth – if he treats you like a side piece, then that’s what you are. She says men don’t lie – women just refuse to believe actions.
Pam is trying to get back with her ex-husband Raymond, but gives in to the advances of a younger man, Daniel Dames II, who at 23 is half her age. She tries to keep the “relationship” with the suave, dapper Daniel under wraps from her colleagues at Hype 107 but ends up “cheating” on the younger man with her ex-husband, who actually only wanted a roll in the sack and wasn’t thinking of getting back together with her, and Daniel finds out. When she’s caught, Pam disses Daniel, and in turn her ex-husband disses her.
Kayla is friends with Alex, who steps in to assist her wherever and whenever she falls short on bills; but her godsister, Kelly, comes to town and she’s no longer the “tomboy” Kayla remembers. Kelly has grown up. She catches Alex’s eye. When this happens, Kayla realizes what she’s losing and seduces Alex, thinking this would keep him. For what is probably the first in Bahamian theater history, it’s a sex scene that’s so sizzling, the audience held its collective breath.
After having sex with Alex, Kayla feels taken advantage of by Alex, but he tells her that for him it was only sex, and they were only ever friends. He confronts Kayla with Kelly in tow to put Kayla in her place and let her know that Kelly is his woman.
According to Kelly, she doesn’t care how good a woman thinks her “benefits” are, she can’t compete with a woman a man loves.
The fabulous Reece is Kirk’s half-sister – she’s smart and living on the laurels of her daddy’s accomplishment, and everything is about her until she comes upon the charming Dre – but his charm is all “smoke and mirrors”. He turns out to be a controlling, abusive jerk who is also married to Denise.
And then there’s Trina who is in everybody’s business and who says she’s not the type to get played, or be anybody’s side chick. Trina is the person who eats Wendy’s on her own dime; when man paying, she says, she doesn’t eat food you order by the number. She flirts with and taxes Calvin, who does everything Trina requests until he gets tired of her taxing him to the max for her hair, nails, gas and food because he says he’s trying to be her man, not her financial plan. Little does she know her comeuppance is coming. She learns from the street vendor that she is the one thing she never wanted to be – a side chick.
This all goes down at Hype 107 where everyone is employed and in everybody’s business. And it’s a lot to keep track of, but playwright Gea Pierre does it seamlessly in “Friends with Benefits”, her latest hit that brings a punch of realness in both its language and messages to the stage. “Friends with Benefits” is about relationships that people get involved in trying to patch voids of love. But it does so in a way that’s hilariously scandalous and sexy.
Pierre, the writer of the hit “Crazy Love” series, has another hit on her hands in “Friends with Benefits, which she described as the “big, sexy, sister to ‘Crazy Love’” which was about love relationships.
“Friends with Benefits” was directed by Patrice Johnson and produced by Mark Gardiner. It played four shows over the weekend at the University of The Bahamas Performing Arts Centre, and if you missed it, you missed a great performance and should hope that Pierre will bring it back for a second run. The show returned to Grand Bahama this weekend for two more shows.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.