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Written by Jordan Harrison; directed by Pam MacKinnon
Performances through July 15, 2018
Ian Harvie, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Cindy Cheung in Log Cabin (Photo: Joan Marcus)
Log Cabin, Jordan Harrison’s bumpy but funny play about gays and lesbians coming to terms with their unexpected new status as “elites,” makes pertinent points while painting with a broad brush how much—or how little—the country’s attitudes toward gender and sexuality have changed in the past few years.
We first meet two couples that are close friends: Ezra and Chris, recently married after the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to legalize same-sex marriage; and Pam and Jules, in whose well-appointed Brooklyn apartment (with a balcony!) the play is set. Pam and Jules decide to have a baby, and the baby monitor never gives anyone peace when the men come to visit. One day, Henry, a friend of Ezra (they went to the high school prom together when Henry was female), comes over with his girlfriend Myna—what a terrible name to give to someone!—in tow.
Henry’s arrival discombobulates everyone, since the two couples have finally won their equal rights but Henry reminds them that the fight is far from over for others like him: will they help out trans people or be content with their own gains?
Harrison’s script—filled with zingers flying in all directions, like Ezra being uncomfortable with the term “cis” because “it sounds like sissy”—is basically out of a sitcom, where the characters are mainly differentiated by how quickly they can hurl the next witticism at the others. But Harrison also tosses in a surrealistic curve ball when the women’s baby, Hartley, in his bedroom, is played by one of the actors. (Later, when another in the group gives birth, we get two adult actors playing infants, to fairly unilluminating returns.)
Despite contrivances involving overheard conversations from the baby monitor and the convoluted family dynamics among the group following a second pregnancy, Log Cabin—whose title evokes the gay Republican organization founded in 1977—manages to be entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time. Pam MacKinnon directs adroitly on Allen Moyer’s handsome apartment set, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Ezra), Phillip James Brannon (Chris), Cindy Cheung (Pam), Dolly Wells (Jules) and Ian Harvie (Henry) make up a first-rate comic cast.
Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street, New York, NY
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