Dysfunction junction

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  March 25, 2008

The Cambridge-based Greenidge has garnered an impressive string of commissions from regional theaters across the country. She is currently a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, and her previous works include 103 Within the Veil, which Company One produced several years ago. The troupe’s commitment to her work is admirable, and Victoria Marsh’s production of The Gibson Girl offers spontaneous performances by Nyla Wissa and Brittany Lang as the twins and a hilarious one by Greg Maraio as Nelson. But Greenidge takes forever to line up her dramaturgical ducks, and even then they don’t add up to a swan.

I am late catching up to SpeakEasy Stage Company’s New England premiere of multiple Tony Award winner Terrence McNally’s Some Men (at the Calderwood Pavilion through March 29). The play, which was commissioned by Sundance Institute Theatre Laboratory and ran at New York’s Second Stage Theatre last year, is surprisingly weak. It’s as if McNally had decided today’s gay young whippersnappers needed to know their history, lest they think Maine’s Stonewall Kitchen is all about fancy condiments.

So the play begins and ends at a contemporary gay wedding at the Waldorf but flashes back as far as the 1920s, offering vignettes of (male) gay life across the 20th century. There are a couple of droll scenes, one being the interview by two Vassar students of a long-time same-sex couple from the 68-year-old McNally’s generation. And being swept back into the devastation of the AIDS crisis cannot help but draw a tear. But the play is inferior to Paul Daigneault’s fluid production on a wedding cake of a set by Eric Levenson that’s prettily lit by Chris Fournier. Among the competent and versatile cast, Diego Arciniegas brings a thoughtful intensity to Bernie, a character who served in Korea and married before coming out. And Will McGarrahan pulls out the stops of repressed rage for a muscular drag-queen rendition of “Over the Rainbow.” Like those bluebirds, even a cliché can fly.

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