Monday, February 11, 2013

A Strange And Separte People A Play by Jon Marans

Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine 
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions, November 2012
Pages: 126

In this new play, which received critic praise in its limited NYC run last year, we meet Jay and Phyllis Berman, a 30-something (mostly) Orthodox Jewish couple in New York City, raising their autistic son. Their life gets a bit spicy when Stuart Weinstein, a handsome and busy doctor, meets with Phyllis to arrange for her to cater a party he is planning. Phyllis is somewhat attracted to Stuart passion and charisma. She is also fascinated by the fact that he is gay, but doesn't see that as a contradiction to his faith, and enjoys discussing that with him at length. When Phyllis invites Stuart to have dinner with the two of them, it's obvious that there is a tension between the two men, one that signals a potential rift in their otherwise happy marriage. 

Besides the text of the play, complete with stage directions and notes, the book contains an essay on the faith's official stand on homosexuality, as well as personal essays from two Jewish men, one who went through the faith's ex-gay movement, and another who has learned to embrace both his religion and being gay. Also included are details on the production history of the play, with photos. 

Although I usually avoid reading plays, this one held my interest, and I found it somewhat enlightening. Likely not for everyone, and I'll give it four stars out of five.


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