You DO know what a homosexual is?

Girls & Boys Together...

By Kevin Brofsky and Carol Polcovar
Directed by Jade Esteban Estrada
New Village Productions and All Out Arts
Milagro Theatre
Equity showcase
Review by Charles Battersby

Girls & Boys Together... consisted of four one-act plays, two of which were written by a man and two by a woman (get it?). Although the title implies interaction between the genders, the plays written by Kevin Brofsky featured all-male casts (with one non-speaking female role), and one of the plays by Carol Polcovar had an all-female cast. Only the final piece of the evening dealt with gender relations, featuring a woman, a man, and a transvestite (who didn't wear women's clothing in the scene).

Close But No Cigar, by Kevin Brofsky, started off the night. It makes vague comments about September 11 and how it relates to discrimination against gays on Wall Street. While performed capably (especially by Steve Hauck), Brofsky's statements are fuzzy. There is the "terrorism is bad" point, but also vague arguments for and against gay affirmative action, which never form into a cohesive argument for either side of the debate.

Finding The Wildlife Preserves, by Carol Polcovar, is about two older women (Rhoda Pauley and Lois Slessinger) who stumble into a gay resort. The two discuss homosexuality: ("You DO know what a homosexual is?"). Eventually confessions arise to explain why one of them is a bit on the homophobic side (yeah, THAT'S why). Although full of potentially funny dialogue, the script is slow and talky. Contributing to this problem was the cast's stiff delivery. The highlights of the scene were when Carmel Forte strutted in as a waitress, dressed in a different sexy outfit for every entrance. Although a supporting role, Forte's presence helped liven up the otherwise wooden scene.

Brofsky's Dancing Straight is about gay actors and writers in 1948 Hollywood. The feeling of being in 1948 never quite came across in the presentation, though the script contains many chronological references. The costumes seemed appropriate to almost any part of the 20th century, and the set was too sparse to convey time or place. As with Close But No Cigar, Brofsky's point in the scene does not come across. "Homophobia is bad" seems to be the depth of his commentary.

Polcovar's Fool For Fantasy closed the show. A woman (Sylvia Sierra) tries using a wiccan spell to help her transvestite friend (Yolanda), who recently ended an abusive relationship. The play gives the impression of being part of a larger story and ends without resolution.

The lighting scheme (Gillian Felix) was overly complex. Several scenes used a blazingly bright light mounted right over the audience to illuminate stage left. This retina-searing supernova had almost no effect on the stage, but let the actors see the audience perfectly.

Director Jade Esteban Estrada tied the four plays together by having the cast of each play introduce one of the other plays, and created a sort of prologue where characters from all four plays briefly interacted. It was a clever gimmick that lent a touch of cohesion to the project, which otherwise lacked any profound, unifying statement.

(Also featuring Anthony Hawkins Woods, Lawrence Merritt, James Gun, John Kevin Jones, Michael Vaccaro, and David Hatkoff.)

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Acting: 1
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2003 Charles Battersby