BWW Review: WOULD YOU STILL LOVE ME IF...; Important Subject, Inept Play
Everything that is interesting about the text of John S. Anastasi's drama Would You Still Love Me if... is the basic premise that inspires the piece; should a person who isn't bisexual be expected to stay in a relationship with someone who has decided to come out as transgender and undergo sex change surgery. It's a subject loaded with controversy, passions and deep emotions and hopefully a New York stage will soon host a competent play about the subject.
In the meantime, Anastasi's piece occupies New World Stages in what looks like an extremely low-budgeted production. The acting is good. Sofia Jean Gomez, who plays the transgender character, is very good. But the play itself suffers from dialogue that sounds more like a lecture than actual people speaking and too much of the evening just isn't believable.
Danya (Gomez) and Addison (Rebecca Brooksher) have been a couple for two years and haven't quite mastered communication skills. With neither able to conceive, they've been considering adoption, but one day Addison surprises Danya with the news that several months ago she happened upon a poor young women who became pregnant from a rape. She can't afford to raise the child and wants to give it up for adoption, but only if there's no man involved as a parent.
Addison has secretly taken care of all the necessary paperwork, and has even contacted Danya's place of employment for information. Everything's set except that Danya, who is not open about being transgender, has been seeing a doctor and has decide to proceed with female-to-male surgery. Surprise number two means the biological mother would no longer be willing to give them her child, but Danya is more concerned about Addison seeing this as the end of their relationship.
The play's most authentic-seeming moment comes when the two of them argue about whether or not loving someone no matter what includes when your lover physically changes to a gender you're not attracted to.
It's most jarringly false one comes when Addison can't immediately recognize Danya in his new identity as Daniel, though to the audience Gomez hardly looks different.
Kathleen Turner, whose name appears in large over-the-title billing, has the relatively small part of Danya's mother, and took over as director after the exit of Nona Gerard. Deborah Cox was originally announced for the supporting role of Danya's doctor, which is now played by Roya Shanks.