Theatre Review: Having a Gay Old Time

review

Note: this article was also published on Neon Tommy.

The Homosexuals, written by Philip Dawkinsproduced by Celebration Theatre: seen October 10, 2013

“The future is ambiguous: like Capri pants.” So says the character of Peter (Butch Klein) at the end of Celebration Theatre’s production of The Homosexuals. It is the concept of this ambiguous future that is the key to this production.

But that is the end — or is it the beginning? — of the story. The play, written by Philip Dawkins, is comprised of six scenes revolving around the character of Evan (Brian Dare) and his group of friends-to-lovers-to-friends. But the scenes are in reverse chronological order. Starting in 2010, Evan is breaking up with Peter. Each successive scene takes place two years earlier, until the last, set in 2000, when Evan is first on the scene in “the big city: away from his home in Iowa, meeting these friends for the first time.

As each scene progresses, more of Evan’s past is revealed in this fast moving play, directed by Michael Matthews. “Just because I have a lot of gay friends doesn’t mean I want to sleep with them,” Evan says at one point, and the concept of whether or not two gay men can be “just friends” is explored throughout. Each vignette presents Evan in a different relationship — at one point, showing interest in all but one of his gay friends. Every scene is tinged with the knowledge of the future, but it is this advanced knowledge that makes it both sweet and heartbreaking to watch. The character is continually searching — for friendship, for love, for a connection.

Brian Dare and Butch Klein in Celebration Theatre’s ‘The Homosexuals’. Photo by Sean Lambert.

Dare plays the part of Evan with a little too much wide-eyed eagerness. While the play supposedly takes place over ten years, his character doesn’t go through much growth. At the end of the play, he is pretty much the same as he is at the beginning. But maybe that’s the point.

The rest of the ensemble is varied. Klein steals the two scenes he’s in, playing that thin line between stereotype and reality with humorous abandon. While Ben Patterson is definitely easy on the eyes as British Mark, the less said about his unsettled British accent, the better. Kelly Schumann, as resident “fag hag” Tam, also does a great job of playing the best friend we all wish we had. Matt Crabtree (Collin), David Fraioli (Mark), and Kurt Quinn (Michael) round out the rest of the cast.

“You don’t stop loving someone just because you stop loving them,” Evan says at the beginning of the play. While uneven at times, The Homosexuals is, at its heart, about the ambiguous nature of love.

Celebration Theatre’s production of The Homosexuals is playing through December 1 at Atwater Village Theatre (3269 Casitas Ave, Los Angeles). Tickets are $26-$33. For more information, visit Celebration Theatre’s website.