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Theater Review: “Homos, or Everyone in America”

Alexander Guzman (left) and Jacob Caltrider in "Homos, or Everyone in America."
Photo credit:
Jim Carmody

Relationships (gay or straight) can be a real joy or a major pain – or both. In Jordan Seavey’s “Homos, or Everyone in America,” the nameless protagonists love, fight, and laugh (sometimes simultaneously) as the history of their relationship is portrayed. 

“Homos,” in its West Coast premiere, plays through Oct. 15 at Diversionary Theatre.

Diversionary’s artistic director Matt M. Morrow helms this unusual tale, which unfolds over an unchronological five-year time span between 2006 and 2011. As the time jumps back and forth, so the scenes are played unusually: some audience members are seated on the stage, and the actors move around, playing now onstage and then from various other spots in the theater.

The main characters are Writer (Jacob Caltrider), a Jewish neurotic, and the much more romantic Academic (Alexander Guzman). They meet way back then on Friendster (anybody remember Myspace?); we see them on the first date at the local gay watering hole, where indecisive Writer can’t decide what color wine to order.

Academic is a Latino grad student in media studies. Since both are wordmeisters of a sort, they engage in lots of amusing word games like discussing “your dictum” as if it were a sexual term.

One of the other two characters is Academic’s “sort of strapping” friend Dan (Michael C. Louis), who will become the object of a discussion about infidelity and whether a threesome might be a good idea.

The fourth is Andrea Agosto’s Laila, a bath products salesperson seen in the first scene and toward the end and last scenes, reminding us that at any point what we see may not be what’s really going on.

Then there’s the moving-in discussion. And the issue of which is better for gays: being part of the American social fabric (i.e., fitting in) vs. maintaining their age-old set-apart status. And the inevitable discussion about poppers, weed and other drugs. And even an unseen act of violence (Seavey wrote the first draft after a friend was the victim of a hate crime).

There’s nothing new, strange or startling here: Seavey wants to tell us gays have many of the same relationship issues everybody else does and does so in one long, fitful conversation that spans five years.

It’s the lickety-split delivery of this script (which is written without punctuation or normal sentence structure, and assumes that normal conversation consists of people finishing  – or interrupting – others’ sentences in progress) that distinguishes it from other plays about relationships.

It’s a bit confusing at times, but Caltrider and Guzman make it work as a 90-minute whirlwind exploration of how gays relate to each other. Michael C. Louis is convincing as well as the other man.

Kudos to Morrow, whose direction keeps the show moving with a minimum of confusion, and his fine cast, who make it work.

The details

“Homos, or Everyone in America” plays through October 15, 2017 at Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., University Heights.

Thursday at 7 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm

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