Writer-performer David Kleinberg, who takes audiences on a journey through sex addiction in his new one-man show, is candid about what sparked him to take action to present the piece.
“I am not exactly sure that I wanted to create this,” he says, but he adds, “Down to my bone, I felt I was called to do it.”
Currently running at Stage Werx Theatre in The City and directed by Mark Kenward, “The Voice: One Man’s Journey Into Sex Addiction and Recovery” is deeply revealing and, at times, downright humorous.
“It’s a taboo addiction, and nobody really wants to hear about it,” says Kleinberg, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Datebook for 14 years during his 34-year career as an editor-writer at the publication.
He says he always had a penchant for comedy and hit the stage shortly after leaving the paper, honing his craft in classes at The Marsh in The City.
It was in one of those classes, taught by David Ford, that Kleinberg was encouraged to explore more deeply his own sex addiction and work up a full-length piece about the issue.
“My wife walked in on me in front of the computer and said, ‘What are you going to do about this?’ I decided to go into a 12-step program,” he says. “Essentially, in recovery, if you are not doing it for yourself, it isn’t going to last. So I had to ask myself: ’Do I want to keep going on doing this?’ I was almost 60 at the time and I felt as if there was still a part of me that was like an adolescent."
The show — which has earned audience acclaim in Boulder, Colo., and Fresno — also addresses homophobia in an arc that Kleinberg calls “a love story between a straight and gay man that has nothing to do with sex.”
If that isn’t enough to lure in crowds, philanthropy might.
One hundred percent of ticket sales will benefit 12-step sex addiction recovery programs and other nonprofit organizations supporting Bay Area women seeking to free themselves from sex work.
Beneficiaries include Stand Against Global Exploitation (SAGE) for March 15-16 performances; S.F. Safe House on March 22-23; and Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSEY) on March 29-30.
Post-show discussions are slated for March 16 and March 30.
Kleinberg’s efforts are geared to shine light on a veiled subject matter. He says, “There was a face I showed the world and then there was another side that I kept hidden.”