Friday August 18th 2017

“The Homosexuals”

About Face Theatre Company , a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity is presenting “The Homosexuals”, a World Premiere, at The Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater ( this is the smaller, upstairs “studio”). during this, Gay Pride Month. This is a warm and funny story about relationships, friendships and love, but is also a story about individuals knowing who they are, Written by Phillip Dawkins, “The Homosexuals” is primarily Evan’s story as it traces his life from now back to his arrival in the big city. Patrick Andrews handles this role as the young Iowan who has left his home and family to find himself and his new life with great feeling and charisma. At the start of the play he is breaking up with his current boyfriend, Peter ( played to the hilt by Scott  Bradley). It is Now!. From this point we go back in time, scene by scene with each of his new friends until we go all the way back to his arrival and his first coming to terms with who he is and that he has found a new “home”.

Directed by Bonnie Metgar with almost a feeling of being choreographed on a marvelously created set by Regina Garcia, this stylized direction is stunningly creative and each of the scenes takes us to a different period in Evan’s life. Dawkinstakes us into a world that most straight people can only imagine and allows us to see that these are people with the same fears and feelings that the heterosexualworld has. In his examination of this “other world” we see that this small group of men and one woman, Tam ( a brilliant character played to perfection by Elizabeth Ledo) who marries one of the men so he can get a Green Card, has some of the best and funniest dialog and perhaps another play about her world would make sense as a follow-up.

The men in Evan’s new life , in addition to Peter are British Mark (Benjamin Sprunger), Mark ( Eddie Diaz), Collin ( John Francisco) and Michael ( the very funny Stephen Cone). Michael is in fact the first person Evan meets when arriving in town and the only one that he no physical contact with. One almost feels sorry for Michael as it appears he is more of the comic relief for this group of men and Tam. Michael brings Evan to the party assuming that he is his date and as the party progresses and Evan realizes that he is “safe” withthis group, we learn that this was the start of a relationship withone of the others. Yet, as written, the party is the last scene of the play, Evan’s “coming out” so to speak, not withthe world, but with himself.

Heather Gilbert’s lighting  and Sarah Pickett’s sound added the proper tone for each of the scenes. David Hyman’s costumes were an added touch along with the marvelous props by Katherine Greenleaf. Dan Stermer did the actual choreography , between each scene as we moved from one time period to another, Evan’s change of clothes and change of scenery was in fact choreographed and we watched every second. This made the transitions cleaner and gave us a little more glimpse into each of the members of this “circle of friends”.

This is an extraordinary production that may open your eyes to a world that you think you know and while I am not sure if there are circles of friends like this, I would think that there just might be. After all,  don’t married couple lust after their wives’s or husband’s friends? Everyone needs love and everyone has dreams and hopes, but as Evan says, “no one knows the future”.  One of the lines that Dawkins writes is that “if you knew that none of your dreams would ever come true, you might just stop dreaming and then what would life be”. I think this si what was said, but not word for word. This is what I drew from the statement made and I agree wholeheartedly. About Face, with this play, is educating the viewers and bringing them, at least some of them into a different world. The audience today was very mixed and the response from all was very positive. What a great way to start Gay Pride Month!

“The Homosexuals” will continue through July 24th with performances as follows:

Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.,Saturdays at 5 and 9 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

Tickets are $28 ( a great value for theater of this quality) and can be purchased by calling 773-871-3000 or online at www.aboutfacetheatre.com

The Victory Gardens Biograph Theater is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue ( at Fullerton) and valet parking is available.

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