A Strange and Separate People

A Strange and Separate People

A New Play

Book - 2012
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A young Manhattan couple is shaken when a gay doctor's passion for his new religious beliefs challenges theirs and questions the meaning of love.
Publisher: New York, NY : Chelsea Station Editions, [2012]
ISBN: 9780983285151
0983285152
Characteristics: 122 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

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andavis8
Mar 25, 2018

I once read a review of a play by David Henry Hwang that criticized the production and script for “feeling like a sitcom.” I saw his point but disagreed, both with the argument and with the premise that being a sitcom is a pejorative. I find good sitcoms in the Norman Lear style entertaining and moving occasionally.

And then there’s work like that found in this script. Every beat is predictable. Every metaphor is over-stretched and dead horse beaten. Is there a coat of many colors in it? Yes. Is it brought up over and over and over again to the point of being so inane? Absolutely. Is a child diagnosed with autism referenced as an example about how we all have problems processing the world around us and making connections with one another? You bet.

I found one thing that I liked about this script. It follows a man who was raised as an Orthodox Jew. Though he starts married to a woman, he begins a relationship with a man. The play engages with how his upbringing clashes not so much with sexuality (he’s not conflicted there), but with how it’s difficult to adjust to a partner that has not been socialized to perform certain divisions of labor along gender lines. In other words, it’s a shock for him to have a male partner that is not acting like a model Orthodox Jewish wife. But sadly, even this engaging idea is only explored in the most superficial ways. By the end there were things the characters said or did that had me literally roll my eyes.

There were just statements and actions that made me roll my eyes. I think it could be an ok episode of a sitcom, but not one that would get me to watch the series.

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