category: trilogy of shorts
genre: social comedy
running time: twenty minutes
setting: San Francisco
Lee, an older gay man
Hamish, a younger gay man
Told in three parts, “Dungeons” is about how Lee, in the wake of being left by his husband, is trying to sell his house to Hamish, who turns out to have slept with his husband. In “Democrats”, Lee and Hamish have been together for a while, having fallen in love at some point after the first part, and discuss the pros and cons of getting married. In “Dancing”, the third part, Hamish and Lee are celebrating their three year anniversary as a married couple living in modern day San Francisco.
These pieces were created for an evening of short plays and sketches about gay marriage that was being put together during the summer of 2013, when gay marriage was a hot political subject. Though I had no real interest in the social agenda of the evening, I was compelled by the idea of creating a trilogy of shorts discussing the deeper issues of any relationship: trust, commitment, fear of intimacy, fear of the past repeating itself, and fear of optimism (and the potential for disappointment). To me, those elements of the gay marriage debate were far more compelling to me than the legality of gay marriage, which should really be a no brainer for anyone with half a brain, and thus in my mind really isn’t worthy of a play explaining that. The pieces were ultimately not included in the evening (they were deemed “too edgy”), but I enjoy that they allowed me to tell another story about Lee and Hamish, who have appeared in other plays of mine in supporting capacities, and so were long over-due to be the center of attention, even if only for a trio of shorts that collectively play about twenty minutes. I love the idea of these two men, who have been sidelined by everyone else, becoming the core player in each other’s lives, and in a nice structural twist, the plays happen in the basement, then the top floor, and finally in the kitchen of the house they share together, exploring the depths and heights of a long term relationship along the way. It’s probably the most domesticated play I have ever written, and will ever write, and for that reason I’m glad it focuses on a gay couple who just happened to have an open marriage. Not too bad considering these were plays I never would have thought to write if not prompted from the outside to do so.
Black Ice Theatre Company, March 30, 31 & April 1, 2020, on Facebook as part their Sheltered Shorts Series. Directed by Rich Sargent. Cast: Ryan Hayes (Lee) and Brian Martin (Hamish)