Oscar Wilde was the victim of homophobia. Nowadays anti-gay agendas often inspire out theater artists. Witness two major cases in point as the Hub season begins: Christopher Shinn’s Now Or Later, Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion (October-November10; 266-0800 or huntingtontheatre.org)) and The Lily’s Revenge, American Repertory Theatre at the Loeb Drama Center (October 12-October28;617-547-8300 or amrep.org).The Shinn play should resonate with the approaching Presidential election, while The Lily’s Revenge may provide multi-media food for thought about marriage and evolving identities.
Now or Later, actually set in a hotel room as votes are counted in an American Presidential election, focuses on the impact of the immanent victory of the Democratic candidate on his gay son.
John Jr. neglected by his parents and dumped by his boyfriend , has survived an attempted suicide. At the same time, he is unwittingly gaining his Warhol ‘15 minutes of fame’ thanks to virally popular internet pictures in which he is dressed as Mohamed and brandishing a dildo at a party at his Ivy League College.
Will John Jr. apologize for the pictures to minimize the embarrassment of his President-elect father as he takes office? Will he stand up for politically incorrect thinking and beliefs? Will he take charge of his own life and identity? Look for timely reflections about family, integrity, politics and the conflicts between personal life and public image. Michael Wilson directs.
If Now or Later takes on issues as topical as today’s headlines, Lily’s Revenge, by Taylor Mac, means to celebrate a transcendence of everyday reality in an ambitious mix of dance, film, theater and music stretching over several acts and hours. Look for rich flower imagery and an allegory for love without boundaries- both gay and straight. Also expect to see such premier out Hub actors as Thomas Derrah and John Kuntz in the large cast.
International talent comes to Wellesley Summer Theatre (September 27-29, 781-283-2000 or Wellesleysummertheatre.com)with Actors from the London Stage returning there for a seventh year , this time in The Merchant of Venice. The traveling company takes on all of the roles. Expect a fresh reading not only on the plight of Jewish merchant Shylock but also on the sexually ambiguous relationship between title merchant Antonio and his best friend Bassanio, who clearly adores him as much as Portia.
Another sexually ambiguous relationship comes to a moment of truth in out playwright Joe Byer’s play The Fakus-A Noir. The Centastage season opener goes up at the Boston Center for the Arts September 22-October 6;627-933-8600 or bostontheatrescene.com). Sharing a bed in this unusually area premiere will test the sexual identities of the two men in question.