Though not universally admired, The Twilight of the Golds was one of the most talked-about gay plays of the '90s. Seen on Broadway in a production that featured Jennifer Grey, David Groh, and Raphael Sbarge, the Jonathan Tolins play--about a woman who must choose whether or not to have an abortion when she learns by way of a new medical test that the child she's expecting will be gay--was later made into a Showtime TV movie starring Jennifer Beals, Brendan Fraser, Garry Marshall, Faye Dunaway, and Jon Tenney.
Love it or hate it, the property created quite a stir. But how does one write a gay play for the 2000s? What ground can one possibly cover that hasn't already been trod, re-trod, and re-re-trod? The title of Tolins' latest, Another Gay Play, would seem to provide a clue. Is this what you might call a post-modern work?
"Well, that's a line in the play," says Tolins. "At one point, somebody says, 'It's so post-modern!' Basically what happens is that a bunch of guys get together in an apartment on Christopher Street on Gay Pride Day, and they realize it's the perfect setup for a typical gay play. It's like Scream, in a way--though I wrote it before I saw Scream. The guys become very aware of what's expected of them as characters in a gay play."
But, according to Tolins, this is something more than a spoof. "People always ask about each of my plays, 'Is it a comedy?' And I say, 'For a while.' This one has an element of satire, but it's also a play with real characters and real emotional stuff going on." Another Gay Play is running at the CAP 21 Theatre at 15 West 28th Street for seven performances only during Gay Pride Week, June 21-26. This production of the non-profit Genesius Guild features Mike Babel, Rich Delia, Frederick Hamilton, Thomas James O'Leary, Johnathan F. McClain, Jeanne Simpson, Jeff Skowron, and Brandon Williams.
"About a year ago," Tolins relates, "a friend of mine showed me an article about The Genesius Guild that listed all of the things they were planning for the future. One slot was still open, but it said they were going to do 'another gay play.' They didn't know that I'd written a play with that title. So I called them up and jokingly said, 'You've announced that you're doing my show, but you don't have the rights!' I sent them the script, they said they wanted to do it--and here we are."