Saturday, December 10, 2011

Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays **

(Always click on the title to see the complete review!)
Over 90 minutes, nine playlets by eight playwrights examine various aspects of marriage equality. The actors read from scripts on music stands. As in any venture of this type, the results are uneven. Most successful are two hilarious works by Paul Rudnick featuring the irrepressible Harriet Harris: in one, she is a member of a dozen anti-same-sex marriage groups who is tormented by gay voices everywhere; in the other, she is a trendy liberal New York mother who is ashamed that her gay son isn't married yet. Richard Thomas is moving in Moises Kaufman's eulogy for a partner of 46 years. Neil LaBute's overlapping monologues for two men, played by Craig Bierko and Mark Sullivan (Mark Consuelos's understudy), is called "Strange Fruit." With that title, you know things won't end happily. The remaining works, by Jordan Harrison, Wendy MacLeod, Doug Wright, Mo Gaffney and Jose Rivera don't fare as well. It's a thankless task for any actress to share a stage with the likes of Ms. Harris, but Polly Draper and Beth Leavel do their best. Behind the actors, Sarah Zeitler fills the Minetta Lane stage with transparent chairs, flower arrangements and an enormous white swag passing through two interlocked rings, dramaticallly lit by Josh Starr. Stuart Ross directed. As I looked around at the audience, it was a clear case of preaching to the choir.

No comments: