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April 3, 2014

Published in the Montclair Times
Gay marriage onstage in Montclair


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Jack Drucker says it is not hard to relate to a man who gives a eulogy for his long-term partner in the play “London Mosquitoes” by Moisés Kaufman. “Love is love,” said Drucker. “I am in love, with my wife Francesca,” Drucker said. He and his wife have been married for 32 years.

“London Mosquitoes” is one of nine one-act plays that make up “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays,” that perform at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, 67 Church St., this weekend and next. The playwrights include Pulitzer Prize-winners and Emmy Award-winners.

The UU Montclair Theatre Group was founded in 2009 by Dolores Davis. Its first production was “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters.

Drucker directs “My Husband” by Paul Rudnick; “The Gay Agenda” by Paul Rudnick, and “The Revision” by Jordan Harrison. He performs in “My Husband,” in “On Facebook” by Doug Wright, and in “London Mosquitoes” by Moisés Kaufman. In “London Mosquitoes,” he plays a man eulogizing a partner to whom he was never married. His character recalls his lover Paul’s rejection of the idea of getting married, and when prompted for a reason, becomes irate: “If we married now, we’d be having our one-year anniversary next year. What would that say about the last 45 years? That we were just messing around? Messing around for all that time?”

It’s a poignant moment, full of anger and bewilderment and grief. Lyndhurst resident Vincent Wares, who directs Kaufman’s play, reminded Drucker at a recent rehearsal to capture the dead Paul’s intellectualism that masked his heart.

Wares said that he loves directing the UU Montclair Theatre Group, the company based at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, because “theater is a blessing we all share. It is a spiritual activity to perform and have the audience enter into the lives of others. People experience life with us. It is a healing thing.

“A play like this is perfect for that.” Wares said he particularly enjoys seeing people discover their talent. “It is an act of service,” he said.

Drucker said that while his eulogy is sad, it has humor in it as well. “It’s about love.”

Wares pointed out that despite the title, the plays are about much more than the controversy over gay marriage: “They are about people enacting their marriage,” he said.

For some members of the company, the issue of gay marriage is a particularly close one. Frank Ipolito, who performs in “On Facebook,” intends to get married this year. Ipolito said, “I have been ashamed of my state. It’s about time. I’m a big believer in individual liberty.” He performs in “Facebook” and “Pablo and Andrew at the Altar of Words” by José Rivera. In “Facebook,” Ipolito plays a gay character railing against a homophobe on Facebook. In “Pablo and Andrew,” Ipolito recites wedding vows.

“It’s liberating that this is normal, that this is not weird,” he said. “If it was a man or woman, nobody would think twice.”

‘Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays’

By Mo Gaffney, Jordan Harrison, Moisés Kaufman, Neil LaBute, Wendy MacLeod, José Rivera, Paul Rudnick, Doug Wright; conceived by Brian Snipper

Saturdays, April 5 and April 12, 8 p.m.
Sundays, April 6 and April 13, 4 p.m.

The UU Montclair Theatre Group
At Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair 67 Church St.
908-687-4560, 852-310-4078

Contact Gwen Orel at orel@northjersey.com

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