The memoir of former New York City Ballet dancer Toni Bentley is realized as a sexually potent play
Toni Bentley has never been one to sugar-coat. The former New York City Ballet dancer has written about the scientific and magical properties of a tutu, and Salome’s “Dance of the Seven Veils” influence on twentieth century culture. Her memoirs are even more matter-of-fact: “Winter Season” is an honest assessment of her NYCB career during a particularly heady time in the company’s history, and “The Surrender” is about her an episode in her post-career life. Now adapted for stage, “The Surrender” is an unapologetic monologue starring Laura Campbell. The graphic physical and private place the audience is taken to is the unnamed woman’s sexual identity. A-Man, her lover and catalyst in the journey to self-discovery, is vividly re-created in dialogue. The candid one-sided conversation between actress and audience is a no-guilt confessional, anatomy lesson, and ballet primer. Campbell, who resembles Bentley, is an appealing hostess. What she discusses may not be the stuff of ordinary conversation, but her overwhelming need to know is relatable to those who have felt the same way about a person, idea, or feeling.