Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Straight @ The Acorn Theater @ Theater Row

If you want to see a play with an epic love triangle in only ninety minutes you need to see Straight the play. Now, do not automatically assume it’s a generic predictable love rom- com because it is the complete opposite! Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola have written a great play that pushes the audience to see beyond a label and raise awareness that basically we all judge people way to much.

The play focuses around Ben, who in a simple sense is struggling to figure out who he is as a person. As the play progresses we see he has feelings for a man named Chris. But hold on, Ben also has a long time girlfriend, Emily. A pretty simple plotline but oh does it take you on a roller coaster of emotions.  The entire play is set in Ben’s living room. You see how he morphs almost to a different person around Emily and Chris. We only see all three characters in one scene together and it is honestly the most awkward and intense feeling I have ever felt!

Watching the story I couldn’t figure out whom I was rooting for. We have Ben (Jake Epstein) who is struggling with his sexuality, is he bi sexual, straight, gay?! Then we have Emily (Jenna Gavigan) who is the loyal and supportive girlfriend who loves Ben unconditionally, despite his willingness to move in with her and take their five-year relationship to the next level. And Lastly, Chris (Thomas E Sullivan) the younger college student who seems to be the smartest person in the room despite he’s only a sophomore in College.  

Since the entire story takes place in Ben’s living room the space seemed so intimate, I felt like the stereotypical fly on the wall. But I can’t seem to get the scenes between Ben and Chris out of my head. Thomas E Sullivan gave an amazing performance that ultimately made me watch him the entire show and wanted to see how he would react to everything. Jake Epstein really pulled at my heartstrings, but also made me want to slap him. (Which I mean in the nicest way.) The chemistry between Sullivan and Epstein was undeniable and not going to lie… very hot! Overall this cast was a lot of fun to watch and they took me on an amazing journey with them.

This show has such an important message to share with everyone. I never really thought about how labels can affect someone’s life. I never really thought about what I would label myself as. Would I just say straight, female, person? People are so much more than just their sexuality, yet we obsess to try to find what category we fall under. This play really has me thinking and talking about this subject, which is a reflection of great theater! If you want to challenge your mind and take part of this discussion, head down to The Acorn Theatre and see Straight.  Plus you really need to see how all these relationships turn out, it will leave you wanting more.

Review By: Briana Burnside

Photos By: Matthew Murphy

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