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The Boys in the Band

October 19th, 2011 No comments

The Boys in the Band


Saw The Boys in the Band last Friday at convergence and enjoyed myself thoroughly.


The play, written by Mart Crowley, first appeared in 1968 and in some ways you can tell that it is dated–and not in the more obvious aspects–set, exposition, etc., but in the real concerns confronting the characters. This is not to say that it is not very powerful: it is. And powerful in ways you might not expect. Although the issue of homosexuality concerning the men might not be as biting today as it was once, the other fears and concerns that the men express certainly resonate: aging and the heart rending realization that your best years are not only behind you, but lost forever and only memories; finding meaning and value in one’s life, accepting who you are and learning to move forward in the best possible way. For these characters, though, in 1968, there was piled on top of these more “common” concerns, the very real stigma and abuse associated with being homosexual.


The Boys in the Band, in essence, is about a group of gay men coming together to throw a birthday party. As the party goes along, and the men drink more and more, it becomes apparent that the life-long battle with the social stigma that has been attached to their sexual orientation has brutalized many of the men’s self image and, coupled with the issues I mentioned above, leads to scathing and terrible personal attacks as self-hatred and loathing is projected (by some men) and returned, and volleyed around like a tennis ball. It is important, I think, to note that the men are each representative of a certain type and not all of the men hates himself.

The play gets off to a slow start at the apartment of the host, Michael, (Curt Arnold) who is getting dressed and preparing the apartment for the party. His lover, Donald, (Zac Hudak) arrives (he’s a librarian) and through a rather lengthy stretch of exposition we receive the information that will drive most of the rest of the play: the disillusion that Donald and Michael have with the gay scene, the fact that each is seeing a shrink, that Michael has always had a difficult time with this parents, his identity, and has recently stopped smoking and drinking. The final piece of the expositional puzzle is a telephone call to Michael from Alan (Jim Jarrell) an old college chum (conceited, supercilious, pretentious) who is also straight–perhaps. Alan is drunkenly weeping into the phone and has something to tell Michael; he will only tell Michael in person, and insists on coming over to Michael’s apartment. One-by-one the guests arrive and the play really picks up steam and energy: Emory (Clyde Simon) is the quintessential fairy who lightly floats about making snarky, often lascivious, comments; Bernard (Bobby Williams) the only black gay man in the group; Larry (Scott Zolkowski), a truly lascivious gay man who cannot abide monogamy, much to the chagrin of his lover Hank (Dan Kilbane) the token “married” gay man in the group; a gay prostitute/midnight cowboy (Benjamin Gregg); and finally, there is Harold (Jonathan Wilhelm) in whose honor the party is being thrown.

With the party in full gear the drunkenness and back-talking begins. All is well until Alan shows up forcing Michael to request that the gay men all behave and pretend to be what they are not, culminating at the end of act one with Alan punching Emory for one-too-many snide comments and Michael falling off the wagon and chugging vodka or scotch from a carafe.

The second act builds on the first with drunken boisterousness rising and rising alongside the anger and self-loathing of Michael who now takes careful target at virtually everyone in the room–with only Harold, the star party guest, showing the capacity to match Michael’s sparring.


I’ll not bore everyone with a book report of the play, but suffice it to say the play becomes very raw and dangerous at this point, exposing what I can only imagine to be the circa 1960s/70s psychological damage that was done by the constant degradation of these men by the societal and cultural attitudes toward who they in their very being were. Despite the lightness, the airs, the joking; one can see that the damage and relentlessness of it on the psyche and health of these men was severe and Crowley’s play does an excellent job of laying bare this reality.

Production Notes

Douglas Tyson-Rand does a very good job directing and keeping the pace of this play up and driving constantly forward; Cory Molnar designed a great circa-1960s set for the play that, as always, is comfy cozy in the close-up world of The Liminis theater space.

If you haven’t seen this play, do yourself a favor and check it out. It runs through Saturday, October 29th at convergence.

concon and boys in the band

October 2nd, 2011 No comments

Boys in the Band

Convergence has a good write up in the PD in todays paper, E5. Clyde looks very relaxed in the back with his martini glass. It’s also online at

Looking forward to seeing this play soon! For more information check out the concon website.

Boys In the Band

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