The Jamie Lee Curtis Resolution | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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The Jamie Lee Curtis Resolution


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Theatre Wyrzuc, at Cafe Voltaire.

Let me enter a plea on behalf of all the worn-out theatergoers who've supported gay theater in recent years: please, Pate Philips, allow the proposed Illinois gay rights bill to come up for a vote. Passing a gay rights bill may usher in a more tolerant society, and then none of us will ever have to endure another torturous, self-pitying coming-out play again. Please, Senator Philips.

Brian Gary Kirst's The Jamie Lee Curtis Resolution is full of the plot devices already exhausted by gay writers: the small-town upbringing, the confused prepubescent yearnings, the high school experimentation and homophobic taunts, the escape to a liberal urban mecca where an artistic career flourishes, the confrontation with a narrow-minded parent, and ultimately the blossoming of gay pride. Kirst--who wrote, directed, and stars in this show--stages not a play but a short story, and he has a problem dramatizing narration. As the actors flip between detailing exposition to the audience and dropping "in scene"--or, more often, telling us what we can already see them doing--they lose focus and end up talking above our heads for much of the evening.

As in so much gay theater, gay pride here--feeling good about oneself--is where thinking stops. Absent is any acknowledgement or analysis of the larger political and cultural forces that make gay rights bills important. Maybe someday more gay playwrights will start talking about something other than themselves.

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