Homos, or Everyone in America

Homos, or Everyone in America
By Jordan Seavey. New Theatre, Newtown, NSW. Feb 6 – Mar 9, 2024

Jordan Seavey’s play follows the tender and fiercely argumentative relationship of two gay twenty-somethings living in Manhattan.  His interesting storytelling leaps through scenes, long, short, sometimes repeated, and not always chronological.

While this fractures that familiar arc of a relationship story, and sharpens our listening, we do learn this intense five year bond began talkatively in a wine bar and ended in tears on a  subway, just before gay marriage equality arrived in America.

Edward O’Leary plays The Academic, an emotionally withheld student of media and queer studies, an apostle of Identity politics, but one enraptured with Reuben Solomon’s agile Writer – a madly charismatic Jewish character who doesn’t share the Academic’s faith in gay/social progress and community. 

Seavey sets up the argument that we are in a “post-gay” age where the big fights have been had and “Homos” now face the same relationship challenges as “Everyone in America”?  Maybe, and it’s good and true marketing to say straights will relate well to his 2016 provocative play, but these two gay men are still recovering of course from centuries of shaming and abuse.

One old trope is our effusive Writer wanting a threesome with the Academic’s old school friend, the strapping Dan (Axel Berecry), much to the monogamous horror of his devoted partner.  

Homos is essentially a two hander, a close-up series of articulate and passionate arguments between two gay men, often shouting over each other and directed at a snapping pace by Alex Kendall Robson. It’s insightful, very witty and with the still obvious love portrayed in the two fine central performances, we all lasted the 105 uninterrupted minutes of high volume.  

Designer Zara Pittoni’s wide stripped back stage, essentially with just a central bed, probably made the actors shout even more.  And perhaps they thought that Americans never stop shouting but, whatever, Seavey’s play, even through arguments, needs much more variety of volume and tones, reflection and intimacy.

On matters American, it helps to know your gay history through Stonewall, Reagan, Harvey Milk, AIDS, and the closeted Mayor Koch and hideous Roy Cohn. This well acted ensemble (including Sonya Kerr), supported by David Wilson’s spliced sounds and songs, fully entertains with an outspoken, explicit play about where that history has brought us all.

Martin Portus

Photographer: Chris Lundie

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