BWW Review: HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA Fulfills the Theater's Mission at Convergene Continuum
Convergence-continuum's mission states that the theater intends to "produce plays and experiences that challenge the conventional notions of what theatre is."
Clyde Simon, the Artistic Director, continues to select plays that other area venues won't produce. His selections usually have controversial social themes. Much to the delight of his loyal niche audience, for the purpose of fostering LGBT voices, he often picks gay-centric scripts which you wouldn't see if con-con didn't stage them.
Jordan Seavey's "Homos, or Everyone in America," now on the con-con stage, is such a play.
Seavey's script had its world premiere in November, 2016, in a critically praised off-Broadway limited run.
That production starred Robin DeJusus, the two-time Tony nominee for "In the Heights" and "La Cage Aux Folles" and Michael Urie of televison's "Ugly Betty" and "Younger" and Broadway's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
The production was selected by New York Magazine as one of the 10 Best Theater Events of the year, with Urie winning the OBIE Award for best performance.
The script asks such questions as: What does it mean to be in a gay committed relationship? Is there a role for monogamy in that relationship? How does one resolve conflict between a couple with different views of life? How does one deal with a vicious hate-crime?
Presented in a non-linear format, with flash-forwards and flash-backs, we act as eaves-droppers, in the intimate Liminis staging space, on the birth, death, and reestablishment of the connected lives of two Brooklyn gay guys.
We are on-lookers as The Writer (Nate Homolka) and The Academic (Kieron Cindric), up-tight nebbish-boy-meets-manic-pixie-dream-girl, get together on a cyber-arranged wine bar date.
The duo not only has difficulty selecting between white and red wine, but argue about poppers, the drawbacks of marriage equality, and monogamy/non-monogamy as a part of gay life. In spite of that, "love blooms."
As their lives blend together, they negotiate professional anxiety, cohabitation, religious and spiritual differences, and the presence of Dan, a raven-haired cutie who becomes a distracting part of their co-existence.
As a review of the Big Apple production states, "the men are free-spirited and repressed in their own special ways, making their relationship feel very real. Like many over-educated New Yorkers, their banal arguments are fueled by academic buzzwords and the sex advice of Dan Savage."
The con-con production is nicely directed by Clyde Simon. The pace is crisp, the staging enveloping, the multi-platformed set works well, the characters are nicely etched, and the story telling is clear.
Both Nate Homolka and Kieron Condric develop consistent and well-textured personages. Though often given overly affected and ultra-dramatic lines, the duo keeps it mainly real.
Corey East as Dan, and Rocky Encalada as compassionate salesperson, Laila, develop their roles effectively.
If there is a problem with the script, it is Seavey's over-use of gay stereotypes to develop the plot. With a little less "swish" and hysteria, and a little more working toward developing a more mature look at gay relationships, the play would have more social impact and more realistically examine "everyone in America."
Capsule Judgment: "Homos, or Everyone in America" gets a good production at con-con. While some of the stereotypes could have been pulled back by the author, there is enough empathy developed to hold the audience's attention.
"Homos, or Everyone in America" runs through November 9, 2019 at 8 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at convergence-continuum's artistic home, The Liminis, at 2438 Scranton Rd. in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood. For information and reservations call 216-687-0074 or go to http://www.convergence-continuum.org/
Next up at con-con: Nick Payne's "Constellations" from December 6-21, 2019. "In the beginning Marianne and Roland meet at a party. They go for a drink, or perhaps they don't. They fall madly in love and start dating, but eventually they break up. After a chance encounter in a supermarket they get back together, or maybe they run into each other and Marianne reveals that she's now engaged to someone else and that's that. Or perhaps Roland is engaged. Maybe they get married, or maybe their time together will be tragically short." Hmmm...