I am certainly not a theatre critic and rarely do I see a production that, when I wake up the next morning, the play is on my mind. But this morning I was thinking about "Perfect Union" when I awoke. And it is not because of the funny one-liners, and there were many. It was the substance, the stark reality of the play's message that stuck like a knife in my stomach.
The story hinges on two gay men and two lesbians living in the 1950's who have "marriages of convenience." Added to the mixture is that the two men are lovers, as are the two women. They live, as heterosexual couples, in adjoining apartments that are connected through a hidden door located in a closet. President Eisenhower has signed an executive order charging federal agencies to fire employees who were "security risks." The order specifically banned homosexuals from working for the government.
Add to the complexity that one of our gay guys is in charge of investigating and firing suspected homosexuals at the state department. That's when the humor ends and reality begins.
So much of our history has seldom been told, if ever. "Perfect Union" gives us glimpses of the horrific struggles of many homosexuals who were brave beyond imagination and stood up to overwhelming odds, losing employment, and family, being branded forever and regarded as outcasts. It shares how, through this painful process, some people gained a new self-respect, pulling strength from God-knows where. It also shares how some homosexuals were their own worst enemies as they struggled with inner-hate. Some things never change.
"Perfect Arrangement" is more than a play. It is a community service. Go see it. Learn about our forefathers and foremothers and hopefully it will keep you awake as well.