Last night Emily and I had our first date night of the year. Fred and I and the girls are all members of the Second Stage Theater so for this performance we broke up and I took Emily and Fred is taking Jessica next week. We went to see the new play by Terrence McNally called Some Men. It is fantastic.
It is a long play, 2 and a half hour but the acting is superb and the play as a whole is just wonderful. The play spans from the mid-70’s to present set in New York city telling the history of the gay mens revolution.
What is so clever is how the story unfolds. It begins at a wedding ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria celebrating the unison of two men. Then it unfolds as each scene tells a different story of each character.
The married man who is having his first tryst with a male hooker at the Waldorf set in the 70’s. We watch each of their characters grow over the length of the play. The married man leaves his wife and admits he is gay, we watch him meet other men a few years later and that scene takes place at the baths that were very much a big part of the early 80’s. Each scene in some way represents a slice of gay life at one point of history.
There is a really insightful scene at a gay mens club during the night of Stonewall. The new regime versus the old and the mens thoughts on that including some Judy Garland worship going on.
Other scenes that show being gay is hereditary. We watch characters die of AIDS or just live with the virus. Then we see the gay men who are so comfortable with themselves and can come out and be okay with that in the present world and how the older men remember their past and how that wasn’t so easy. Almost like womens lib. Obviously a different history but a good analogy. The past rebels allow for independence in the present.
Eventually the play comes full cycle to men adopting babies and living the lives they want to. Some committed for life with a partner and children, others have no interest in commitments or getting married. No different than heterosexual life but now it is more accepted that these gay men get to make the same decisions. Then we end up back at the wedding.
Beautifully directed and written. Watching and hearing history unfold on the stage was enlightening. Emily loved it too. It is a pretty sophisticated play with some pretty heady sexual scenes so I was impressed how much Emily enjoyed the content. We were both wowed with the performances.
Years ago I had read a book called Eighty-sixed which told a story of a group of men pre-Stonewall and then post-Stonewall and then through the terror of AIDS. The play brought me back to that book which was glimpse of history that most people don’t learn about.
It was refreshing to see a play like this on the stage. I can’t stop thinking about it today. Truly enjoyed it. Real theater at its best.