Friday, May 26, 2006
Farm Boys (The SOB Review) - Great American History Theater, St. Paul, MN
***1/2 (out of ****)
In the big city, it's easy to get lost and become as anonymous and private as you desire. But in small towns and rural communities, everyone knows your business. To be "different" risks standing out and alienation. After all, "people talk." Farm Boys, based on Will Fellows' book, is an understated yet moving play, demonstrating that for those growing up gay in small town America, it can be especially complicating and even devastating.
When a heart attack takes the life of veternarian farmer Lyle (played, ironically, with tremendous heart by Phil Callen), his will bequeaths his property in rural Wisconsin to John (portrayed by the gifted Matt Guidry, pictured in the foreground with Callen behind him), a man who brought true love to his life years earlier. Guidry is particularly effective through his nuanced portrayal both of John's youthful exuberance and the jaded man he later becomes.
As a young adult, John had not a care in the world other than to be with Lyle. Now, as a New Yorker obsessed with his career struggles, he takes his partner Kim (Joe Leary) to his hometown of Colby, only to relive many of the agonizing moments that he struggled with as he came of age. Complicating matters more is Keith (realistically portrayed by Harlan Chambers), a sexually-confused 18 year old who simply can't reconcile his religion with who he truly is.
With subtle wit and affecting writing, accentuated by Matthew Reinert's haunting and exquisite lighting, Farm Boys delicately underscores how difficult society has made it for rural gay men to be true to themselves. Hurry to see this John Miller-Stephany-helmed production, which closes on May 28.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for tickets.