Last night I went to DiverseCity Theater Company's Equality Playwrights Festival at the Clurman Theatre. Four one-acts all having to do gender identity. While all four were interesting and good in their own way, one of them was pretty damn brilliant. Veils, by Joe Byers, was about a soldier in Iraq about to have his first sexual experience with a local prostitute. Given that this play is about gender identity, neither the soldier nor the prostitute is what they appear to be.
It was a great little play.
Two of the others, Onna Field by Stuart Harris, and Cold Flesh by Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza, were okay. Interesting concepts, but I had problems with the writing. Onna Field had a lot of very stylized language that the actors seemed to stumble on from time to time. Cold Flesh had an interesting concept (a woman investigating her husband's suicide and finding out about his gay affairs), but it seemed a little too easy for the main character to find out the truth about his reasons. Imagine a Law and Order episode where the detectives ask the first suspect if he did it, and he confesses. Too much, too quickly. Maybe if it had been stretched into a full-length play and the wife had to do more digging; I'm not sure.
The final play, Clean Living by Robert Askins, was the only comedy of the evening. It took on the whole "don't ask, don't tell" issue in a new and rather amusing way. Plus, there was a naked redhead onstage the entire time, which is always a plus in my book.
In all four shows, the acting, directing and production values were strong. Well, I would have made some different choices as a director in some of the shows, but I feel that way about everything I see.
The festival runs through this weekend, I believe. If you get a chance, you should check it out.