Adam & Steve and the Empty Sea

Critics' pick
Photograph: Rick Pollock
Adam & Steve and the Empty Sea

Expecting a play about how the world began with two men? This isn’t that. Matthew Greene’s intimate drama follows two childhood friends whose values have grown into conflict. As Adam (Topher Rasmussen) grapples with his religious identity as a Mormon, Steve (Logan Tarantino) is coming to terms with his homosexuality—and California’s Prop 8, the antigay ballot initiative supported by the Mormon Church, puts them at odds. Each scene, including several flashbacks, explores variations on the same issue without seeming repetitious. And Rasmussen and Tarantino, acting on a negligible set, ably evoke the mind-set of confused adolescence, when anything that goes wrong can feel like the end of the world. Their impassioned performances help flesh out Greene’s powerful drama about the strength of friendship, and how growing up and growing apart can turn out to be one and the same.—Nikki Vega

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