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Theater Review: "A Gay Marriage"

J. Marcus Newman, Patricia Elmore Costa, Tom Andrew. back: Sherri Allen, Michael Lundy.

Did the U.S. legalize same-sex marriage so gays could be as miserable in marriage as straights?

That’s one of the questions under consideration in Ronnie Larsen’s “A Gay Marriage,” in its world premiere through July 31 at Diversionary Theatre.

Based on Larsen’s own experience after his husband received his green card last year and was able to finally join him in the United States, “A Gay Marriage” examines the joys and annoyances of married life through the eyes of Brian (Michael Lundy) and Jack (Tom Andrew), who have shared their lives for about a decade.

A simple incident about losing $20 at a casino is magnified in Jack’s mind until it pushes him into a near-homicidal rage, setting up the rest of the plot.

If you can swallow this questionable premise (I’m not a guy, so maybe it makes sense to some of you), what follows will inspire giggles and rueful nods of recognition from the married and those who have (or have had) a longstanding relationship.

It wasn’t really the $20, but Jack is beginning to really feel constrained by the fact that marriage means that there is another person who has to be considered on just about every decision you make.

“Sometimes I don’t wanta do “together.” I just want to do what I want to do,” he reasons.

He’s also terrified by the strength of his emotional response to the incident in question. So he talks to his sister Karen (Sherri Allen), telling her “I think I’m insane.”

“I think you’re married,” she says.

He might be both, because he writes Brian a “Dear John” letter saying he’s leaving him “because I love you so much and I don’t want to hurt you.”

Is this nuts or what? Will that decision stand? Is this one of those ups and downs of marriage or is it really over?

Big sister Karen tells Jack he’s making a big mistake. And Brian’s parents Morty (J. Marcus Newman) and Eileen (Patricia Elmore Costa) weigh in as well. After all, Morty says, “The Supreme Court gave you gay marriage. It did not give you gay divorce.”

Larsen has a good feel for recognizable and engaging characters, and this shorthand version of what happens when the honeymoon is over will amuse and sound familiar to many, though the script strays off the topic reservation more than seems necessary.

Lundy and Andrew are convincing, with good chemistry that may or may not be able to overcome their fairly opposite personalities.

Allen makes the most of Karen’s no-nonsense big-sister approach and the Newman/Costa duo give an amusing, even charming interpretation of two long-marrieds you probably have known.

The details

“A Gay Marriage” plays through July 31, 2016 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Boulevard.

Wednesday at 8 pm, Friday at 7 pm; Sunday at 7 pm

Tickets: (619) 220-0097 or www.diversionary.org