Loving Lovebirds

Lovebird Jamboree
Review by Jen Bush

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Just on the heels of Pride month and the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall comes a production embracing all flavors of love in the LGBTQI community.  Playwright Sarah Elisabeth Brown did a stellar job of weaving 8 interviews with individuals in the LGBTQI community into a poignant, touching and funny play.  The stories were all different yet somewhat entwined.

We first meet the very likable Arlin played sweet as pie by Andy Reiff.  Within 30 seconds, you are rooting for Arlin before you even find out what he wants.  You will want to give him a hug.  He moves to N.Y., takes a chance on love and if the ending of his monologue had turned out any different from being blissfully happy, it would have been devastating.  Sorry for the spoiler but it’s not like I just ruined a major motion picture for you.  Let’s move on.

The show stealer was Sadie played by Margo Singaliese.  Sadie followed her heart and decided it was the right time to become a lesbian after many years of an unfulfilled marriage.  While she passionately schooled us on the ins and outs of making jello salad with a ridiculously wonderful midwestern accent, she regaled us with her love story of a biker chick.  Ms. SIngaliese embodied this character with every particle of her being.  I could just picture a very happy Sadie on the back of a chopper as her blue ribbon for her prize winning jello salad flits about in the wind.

The character of Plum was a plum role indeed for Alana Jessica.  Plum is a transgender woman wrestling with various issues.  Plum wavered between confidence and insecurity all the while looking like a reigning fashionista.

Monty played by Justin Bennett is the super heroic sperm donor for his lesbian friends.  He is very excited about this endeavor as he contemplates his role in the child’s life.  Bennett is sweet, energetic and humorous in the role of Monty.

When we hear Eden’s story, things get a little more solemn.  Imana Breaux brings a serious intellectual sensibility to the role of Eden.  Eden quietly and contemplatively carries a torch for a rich classmate.  Unlike the character of Arlin, Eden does not take the risk of revealing her feelings and her classmate is blissfully unaware.

Another instantly likable character is Abby played with utter delight by Averie Bueller.  Abby is getting married to Leslie who we will meet later in the show.  Abby would rather play baseball than do anything formal but she clearly loves Leslie.  Abby is a bit stressed with planning the wedding and unfortunately grappling with the gamut of feelings of not so accepting family members.

Steve, played confidently and competently by Meaghan J. Johnson is a transgender man.  He openly shares his thoughts and feelings about transitioning and its implications and impact on life and love.

Leslie is played by Catherine Rogala.  She is about to marry Abby, carrying Monty’s biological baby and just got fired from her job at the nursing home.  She was blatantly discriminated against for being pregnant and worse, for her sexuality.  Through Catherine Rogala’s fine acting job, we deeply sympathize with Leslie.

There will be no further spoilers from me except to say, the ending was very heartwarming.  This was a play about yearning, struggle, empowerment and love.  The world at large has made small strides with ageism, sexism, size acceptance and many other bones of contention but there is a long way to go.  Love is such a beautiful construct of life that the recipient of it should not be an issue.  I personally think LGBTQI should also stand for love, greatness, beauty, tolerance, quintessential and individuality.  This performance in the Fresh Fruit Festival was sweet and ripe and highly recommended.  You will be touched, you will laugh and if you need to, you may think hard and have a change of heart about all the wonderful people who make the world go round.

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