Gay culture seems to evolve so quickly that any snapshot is almost instantly antiquated. Offering a queer eye to a straight guy today is almost as passé as wearing an earring in your right ear. Ten years from now, people will recall the primitive times when two women in Arkansas couldn’t marry each other. But despite any change in circumstances, gays and lesbians continue to have many of the same conversations. Alcoholism, sex, abuse, suicide—while these topics aren’t confined to gay circles, their ubiquity over the decades reminds us that not all ground covered is new. Director Jon Kretzu vividly conveys this in two seminal works of homosexual theater now at Defunkt: The Children’s Hour
and The Boys in the Band
(see review also on this page). Darker than its counterpart, Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour
is less about homosexuality than about gossip. The play focuses on a sociopathic monster of a little girl, Mary (Roxanne Stathos), who pretends to faint one second and attacks a classmate the next. Melissa Whitney and Grace Carter star as headmistresses of a private school, but Mary and the three other girls loom over the stage in school desks for most of the show, giving the play an ominous tone. The Children’s Hour
was first performed in 1934, when even the mention of homosexuality on stage was illegal in New York, though the play’s popularity gained it a pass. It’s a suspenseful tale, and while slow at times, the gravitas of its historical context isn’t lost on today’s audience.
The Back Door TheaterPhone:
4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd.Website: https://www.boxofficetickets.com/bot/wa/event?id=226815