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Torch Song Trilogy: Widows and Children First!

by Harvey Fierstein

Ah, now we get to the grit and grime.. the really deep-rooted emotions that only family reunions can bring to the surface. The third play of the trilogy is, in my opinion, the most dramatic. The first two are more serio-comedic, leaning towards the comedic, with moments of real truth and power. But this third play hits you BAM! in the stomach with all its might and leaves you gasping for breath most of the way through.

I loved the addition of David to the family - his wit and one-liners were very charming and a welcome change in tone from the negativity of the mother character. I'm sure she means well, but Arnold's mother storms in, all judgement and little understanding. The fights between Arnold and his mother are so horrible that you wonder how any two people who share the same blood could come back from something like that. It's clear that Arnold idolizes his mother, even imitates her in his caring for David, and yet his mother just can't seem to accept the fact that Arnold is gay. We are left with a glimmer of hope as she seems to encourage him how time will heal the wound of Alan's death, but the last image is of Arnold looking towards the door that his mother has just snuck through and it left me thinking that this was just one in a long string of battles the two of them will share.

I think Mr. Fierstein has written an amazing trilogy of plays that complement each other and yet each stand on their own. I hope that my friend Johnnie will one day have the chance to play Arnold, he's perfect for the part and this is a story that needs to be told again and again until every man and woman feels accepted and loved for who they are, no matter their sexual orientation.

Sunday Play-a-day: Peter Pan musical based on the play by James M. Barrie, Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Music by Mark Charlap


johnnie said...

lauren, i am so glad you ended up enjoying this series. these reviews were perfect! who knows, maybe someday you play mother to my arnold. now wouldnt that be a hoot!? missing your intelect more and more everyday lady!

Lauren Sowa said...

I'm not THAT much older than you! But I do hope that we'll share the stage again one day. :) xo


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