Matthew Lopez received the coveted Olivier and Tony Awards for this two-part epic play about modern New York City gay men, loosely based on E.M. Forster’s “Howard’s End.”
Forster, a gay man, becomes a central character in the play, brilliantly portrayed by Trinity veteran Stephen Thorne.
Forster first appears as a mentor to group of struggling writers who’s “ideas refuse to become words.”
The play begins in 2015, decades after the AIDS crisis, at a point in time when the gay community is reexamining their sexual identity and place in the community.
Toby (Taavon Gamble) and Eric (Jack Dwyer) have been a couple for seven years, both coming from different backgrounds.
Their friends join them every year on Eric’s birthday for cake, wine and casual and sometimes serious conversations.
They talk to each other and the audience about what it means to be a gay man in today’s world, what it meant to their predecessors and what it will mean in the future.
Among the serious conversations are some very funny lines that keep the play from becoming too heavy.
Toby meets and becomes involved with a younger Adam (Chingwe Padraig Sullivan), while Eric becomes involved with an older Henry (Mauro Hantman). Viewing three generations of gay men interacting provides for many perspectives.
A long first act slowly comes together as we are introduced to the other characters who serve as friends and acquaintances, plus a variety of backgrounds interests, and opinions, while also helpful in acting as a modern Greek chorus. They also move chairs and tables around to help represent a variety of venues.
Michael McGarty’s set is one long stage lined with only chairs and tables, spreading the dozen-plus actors from end to end.
Act 2 opens with a lengthy discussion about the progress that the gay community has made over the years, as each has an opportunity to take a long look at themselves and reflect on their lives.
A new character appears with some news about a death and house in upstate New York, setting the scene for what is to come in Part 2.
Separate admission is required for Part 2, which opens on Sept.22 and runs through Nov. 6. Part 1 runs through Nov. 5. For reservations, call 351-4242.
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