Love and Marriage in Two NYC Debuts

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Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays
by Mo Gaffney, Jordan Harrison, Moisés Kaufman, Neil LaBute, Wendy MacLeod, Jose Rivera, Paul Rudnick, and Doug Wright
Directed by Stuart Ross
Minetta Lane Theatre, New York

 

Friends and Relations
by Marc Castle
Directed by Adam Fitzgerald
Havoc Theater, New York

 

NOTHING CAN SINK a play or movie faster than the fearful prospect that the work in question is either overtly political or polemical. Wasn’t it Sam Goldwyn who quipped to a screenwriter that if you want to send a message, call Western Union? So an evening of one-act plays grouped together to advance the cause of same-sex marriage could potentially put off even its natural supporters. After all, some gay people would rather not be told that gay marriage is the ultimate goal for which we have been fighting lo these last four decades since Stonewall. People of my generation, for example, used to make the case that “marriage” as we’ve known it is a bourgeois, patriarchal institution, imprisoning people in an unreasonable commitment to lifelong monogamy when, by our very nature, humans prefer sexual variety. When I was coming of age, marriage was often characterized as an extension of capitalist structures; its real reason for being was to secure rights of inheritance that descended from customs of tribal kinship. Why, then, would GLBT people ever want to adopt its traditions and restrictions?

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