The Mystery of Love & Sex

The Mystery of Love & Sex

by  Bathsheba Doran

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3m, 2f

An unexpected love story about where souls meet and the consequences of growing up.
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The Mystery of Love & Sex

by  Bathsheba Doran

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 2f
  • Duration


    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Romantic Comedy
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Deep in the American South, Charlotte and Jonny have been best friends since they were nine. She’s Jewish, he’s Christian; he’s black, she’s white. Their differences intensify their connection, until sexual desire complicates everything in surprising, compulsive ways. An unexpected love story about where souls meet and the consequences of growing up.

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"Perfectly wonderful! Among the season's finest plays. It is tender, funny, packed with humanity and brimming with surprising revelations. Bathsheba Doran has written a play with such compassion and wry wisdom that I emerged from the theater into yet another frigid day feeling warmed from within." - The New York Times

"Wise and exquisitely crafted." - Time Out New York

"The best new play of this young year." - 

"There is something rather refreshing about Doran's more critical look at these young friendships that dance on the edge of Eros; something original about her probing of how little some of us actually reveal as children, often for very good reason, however close the friend; and her assertion that our soul mates actually can stymie our growth in matters of love, sex and self-actualization [...] This really is a hopeful and atypically intimate kind of play - ideal for different generations of a family, whether or not that's a group defined by birth." - The Chicago Tribune


A Resolution for 2017: Don't Be Afraid to Talk
by Garrett Anderson
January 6, 2017

Writing About "It": The Mystery of Love and Sex 
by Bathsheba Doran 
February 10, 2016


  • Mystery of Love and Sex Lincoln Center Montage
  • Bathsheba Doran on The Mystery of Love and Sex
  • Bathsheba Doran on the characters in The Mystery of Love and Sex
  • Actor Mamoudou Athie on The Mystery of Love and Sex
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Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol
  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes
  • Caution Nudity Nudity/Partial Nudity
  • Caution Smoking Smoking

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day, New Millennium/21st Century
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The play takes place on the outskirts of major cities in the American south.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


3m, 2f
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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Ensemble cast
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

Charlotte and her parents, Lucinda and Howard, are Caucasian. Lucinda is a Southerner. Howard is a New York transplant. At the top of the play Charlotte is twenty-one years old. Jonny is African-American and the same age as Charlotte.



Bathsheba Doran

Bathsheba Doran’s play THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND SEX received its world premiere at Lincoln Center this spring under the direction of Sam Gold, starring Diane Lane and Tony Shalhoub. Her critically acclaimed play KIN received its world premiere in spring 2011 at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Sam Gold. Her play PARENT ...

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The Mystery of Love and Sex premiered in New York City at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre at the Lincoln Center in February of 2015, under the direction of Sam Gold.

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