Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Homos, or Everyone in America ** C

Jordan Seavey’s new play at Labyrinth Theater Company presents a lot of problems. First, there’s that title. Why the pejorative? Why the claim to universality? Forget everyone in America; even with respect to the gay community, the play’s focus is on a very narrow segment. Then there’s the staging. The small theater has been reconfigured into several sections of platforms of various heights. Most of the action takes place in the narrow corridor between sections. Where you sit can either leave you too far from the actors or too close for comfort. Then there's the tricky sequencing; the story is told in fragments that move backward and forward in time. Often it’s hard to tell what precedes what. Jumbling the timeline does not lend the material greater heft. We follow the ups and downs of the relationship between The Academic (Robin de Jesus) and The Writer (Michael Urie) over several years. We also meet Dan (Aaron Costa Ganis), a hunky guy that both hanker for, and, briefly, Laila (Stacey Sargeant), a sales clerk in a fancy soap shop. For much of the play, the two lead characters are bickering. They touch base, at least superficially, with a variety of topics, both personal and social. The Writer is described at one point as a gay Woody Allen. I found him basically unsympathetic, even when played by an actor as appealing as Urie. Robin de Jesus is very strong, especially at the play's climax. The scenic design, such as it is, is by Dane Laffrey (The Christians). Jessica Pabst’s costumes are apt. Mike Donahue (The Legend of Georgia McBride) directed. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes; no intermission.

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