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Torch Song Trilogy: Fugue in a Nursery

by Harvey Fierstein

You know how they say a good play will stand the test of time? It's amazing to me that this was written thirty years ago. Now certainly, in those thirty years there has been lots of movement forward as far as public acceptance of homosexuality goes, but at the same time.. two steps forward, one step back (ahem, prop8). I believe this play could be staged now and still be as moving and truthful as it was back in '79 when it was first staged at La MaMa.

What I love about the second play in the trilogy is the giant bed. What a smart concept -- for those who haven't read it, the entire action of the play takes place in an 8' x 9' raked bed. Even though the characters are in a kitchen, a barn, two different bedrooms, and a multitude of other places, all of the action occurs on this one bed. With careful lighting and strategic use of props, this bed becomes more than just a bed. It becomes a symbol for what is lurking underneath the surface of all the action -- the sense that it's all really about sex. And love. And vulnerability.

Our two heros have returned, with lovers to boot. The love square (that is anything but square) of Ed-Laurel-Arnold-Alan spend a turbulent weekend in the country and lead us on an adventure full of jealousy, seduction, confessions, and suspicion. It has the makings of a farce and more drama than an episode of your favorite daytime drama, but what wins out in the end are honesty and heart. We become attached to the characters and we all know someone who has been in one of their shoes. For as Arnold says, "I guess getting hurt is one thing we all have in common."

Saturday Play-a-day: Torch Song Trilogy: Widows and Children First! by Harvey Fierstein

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