"Acts" and you shall receive
The short plays in "Homosexual Acts" deliver funny and touching scenes about gay life, from high-schoolers struggling with coming out to a dastardly plot by Doris Day's biggest fan.
By JOSHUA TANZER
"Homosexual Acts" is not quite as saucy as its coy title would have you think actually, these "acts" are seven rather well-mannered one-acts about gay life adding up to an alternately funny and moving night of theater. Most of these short plays are smartly written and flawlessly acted, and although the issues they cover are already quite familiar, the pieces comment entertainingly on a range of cultural and social subjects.
One of the best is "The Virgin Tango" by Tom W. Kelly. It's about two high-schoolers, the football team captain and the junior class president, who share a mutual attraction but are both in the closet. That is, not just "in the closet" but literally in the closet they're hiding from the rest of the kids at the school prom in an adjacent storage room.
|Directed by: Mark Cannistraro.|
Includes individual plays: "I Should Have Said No" by Doug Cooney; "Annunciation" by Carl Morse; "The Doris Day Collection" by Robert Shaffron; Anything for You" by Cathy Celesia; "The Virtual Closet" by James Edwin Parker; "The Virgin Tango" by Tom W. Kelly; "It's Our Town; Too" by Susan Miller
Cast: Suzanna Bowling, Jessica Faller, Suzanne Gilad, Stephen Hope, Nathan Johnson, Gregg Moore, A.J. Triano, Justin Wilson.
Related links: Official site
As the music plays outside, the two share wine straight out of the bottle due to the lack of glasses an omission that the shy class president Mark (Justin Wilson) repeatedly apologizes for. At least, he claims, "this is more romantic."
"Is it?" the more assertive Stan (A.J. Triano) says.
"Yes," answers Mark, stalling out of nervousness. "Let's make a toast."
Stan immediately leans in for a desperately desired kiss.
"That is not a toast!" howls Mark.
The two teenagers want each other but they dread the abuse of their peers. The question is not only whether they can overcome the inhibitions between themselves which could almost be the stuff of any teen romance but whether they have the courage, as Stan keeps hinting, to go out into the dance hall and claim a place on the dance floor alongside the straight couples.
A very funny play is "The Doris Day Collection" by Robert Shaffron, about two men in a Southern California cafe, enjoying a conversation about the pantheon of gay film icons and arguing over who co-starred with Doris Day in which pictures. Hank (Stephen Hope) is the expert in this area he happens to be editor of the newsletter of the Doris Day Movement. He also has a fiendish plan.
"I have everything Doris," he boasts. "I have the most complete collection of Doris Day memorabilia in the world. My collection lacks only one thing."
"What's that?" asks his friend Stone (Gregg Moore).
"Doris herself!" Hank answers.
As you may already have guessed, this plan goes awry almost immediately.
By the way, you'll know you're in the West Village when the audience bursts spontaneously into "Que Sera Sera" along with the between-set music.
I have reservations only about the last episode, "It's Our Town, Too," Susan Miller's takeoff on "Our Town" in which gay couples are included in the homey townscape. The piece comes off a little too didactic, with characters making speeches about how it's okay to have two mommies or two daddies instead of facing their own issues in a way that develops their characters. Families with same-sex parents are presented as if merely showing them qualified as a plot development. And the only visible challenge to their way of life comes from an inarticulate straight guy who walks on and rants for 15 seconds. (We know he's straight because his hair is mussed.)
But on the whole, these seven short plays are well worth seeing. I haven't even gotten around to describing the very funny one about Internet dating. You'll just have to see it for yourself.
|AUGUST 20, 2001|
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Reader comments on Homosexual Acts:
Welldon from atif khan, Dec 19, 2005
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