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Photograph: Monique Carboni

Theater review: Homos, or Everyone in America breaks down a gay relationship

Adam Feldman

Jordan Seavey’s Homos, or Everyone in America is a shattered gay relationship play. Two men, identified only as the Writer (Michael Urie) and the Academic (Robin De Jesus), meet at a Park Slope wine bar in 2006. The play follows them through the next five years, but chops the story up and reassembles it into a collage, continuously skipping backward and forward, abandoning scenes in the middle and returning to them later. The effect is not unlike how one of the characters describes being at the beach: “you know how time / time here / just folds and stretches / doubles back / layers.”

This structure has the benefit, at least for a while, of keeping you attentively confused, as you try to figure out what is happening and when. Mike Donahue’s staging adds to disorientation; the playing space snakes a narrow corridor through the plain wooden risers on which the audience is seated. (This has the benefit of putting us close to the actors, but the drawback of sometimes blocking our view of them.)

Out of this structural maelstrom, affecting moments emerge. Urie and De Jesus, two of the city’s most charming actors, don’t just twinkle but spark; you believe them as a couple, when they’re bantering or bickering or cuddling as well as when their story takes more dramatic turns. The possibility of a threeway with an attractive acquaintance named Dan (Aaron Costa Ganis) leads to a brief and devastating breakup scene on a subway platform; a violent incident, later, raises the chance of reconciliation.

But there’s a lot more going on in Homos—in some ways, too much. In addition to a continual stream of historical markers, Seavey throws in discussions of marriage equality, gay bashing, bullying, community, poppers, queer studies, activism, 9/11, even some subtweet shade aimed at Anderson Cooper; there’s also an extraneous and slightly patronizing scene in which a sympathetic black saleslady (Stacey Sargeant), who appears nowhere else in the play, gives the Writer bath products. Amid all this, the central relationship’s major point of conflict—it’s a monogamy thing—seems underdeveloped. Although Seavey offers plenty of sharp reflections, the plot sometimes gets lost in the maze of broken mirrors.

Bank Street Theater (Off Broadway). By Jordan Seavey. Directed by Mike Donahue. With Michael Urie, Robin De Jesus, Aaron Costa Ganis. Running time: 1hr 35mins. No intermission. Through Nov 27. Click here for full ticket and venue information.

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