Friday, March 02, 2007

SOME MEN by Terrence McNally

We were invited to a dress rehearsal of "Some Men," the new play by Terrence McNally and I thought it was an absolutely brilliant. Theoretically, it's a play about gay marriage, but it's really, as all good plays are, about so much more. It's about the lives of several generations of gay men and how both they and things have changed over time.

It begins with a gay marriage ceremony where we're looking at eight men watching the ceremony. It's a brief scene that sets us up for some very non-linear storytelling where we start to meet these men in oblique ways. At first, it seems like it's just random vignettes, but then we start to recognize some from that opening scene. As it skips around in time, we start to get a really full image of the modern history of gay men as seen through the eyes of New Yorkers.

And what a FANTASTIC cast. They play central characters as well as random side characters and are able to delineate each one perfectly. I never felt confused a single moment, even as I was trying to get all the stories straight, if that makes any sense. I think it was because each scene stood on its own merit and made its own internal sense.

But it all adds up to a beautiful "whole" and I was laughing so hard during much of it -- so was the rest of the audience -- and I was deeply moved in several scenes and at the end.

This could easily have been a diatribe about how gay people deserve the right to marry, but instead it was a character study that progressed across time and generations. By the end, you realize that people survive under all circumstances. Love will find its way no matter how many laws or cultural walls are thrown up in its way.

They said at the beginning that this was the first time they'd had a full runthrough. I thought it was flawless. And again, this cast is astonishing. Breathtaking.

Terrence McNally is a national treasure.
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New article in Arts & Understanding (with amazing photos)

http://aumag.org/2017/05/10/steve-schalchlin-advocate/