Friday, June 26, 2015

When Gay becomes GAY, Jack Wernick's New Play To Premiere at the Strawberry One-Act Festival

By Shelby Tansil

“Flamboyant!" "That dreaded word.”

-From Future Fags of America,
a new play by Jack Wernick
Premiering in the Strawberry One-Act Festival

Fifth grade me would pummel present-day me with Nerf gun bullets for admitting this, but I often used to fantasize about having a male Sassy Gay Friend. We would drape ourselves in our feather boa finery and reenact scenes from My Fair Lady. He’d shower me with compliments when I looked like a lumpy troll doll. I’d punch any ignorant boys right in the kisser, if they dared to toss a slur in his direction. We’d drive off into a rainbow sunset, middle fingers to the sky. Or something like that. At that point in my life, I had never actually met any gay people, so this dream was fueled by the stereotypical, so-called “feminine” and flamboyant gay characters found in many young adult novels and romantic comedies. Jack from Will and Grace
and Marc from Ugly Betty were personal favorites. Then, in middle school I began to meet real gay males and females and discovered that my view of homosexuality was one-dimensional and offensive. No one I knew fit the full criteria to be my Sassy Gay Friend and I am positive that no one would have wanted to fill that fantasy role even if they had.

This fantasy of finding my very own Sassy Gay Friend is an example of one way in which American society exoticizes homosexuality. When we overemphasize the significance of a person’s  sexual orientation, we widen the gap between people of different sexualities and ourselves. As a result, homosexuality (as well as other less common sexual orientations) can seem distant and foreign in the presence of the more socially acceptable heterosexuality. Gay becomes GAY.
What are the consequences of this exoticization? How does this impact our relationships with other human beings? What are the implications for our own humanity?   

In his new play, Future Fags of America, Jack Wernick explores these concepts in a simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking satire. When a self-righteous, conservative housewife barges into the office of the Future Fags of America, she immediately begins firing off insults and accusations. Little does she know, she’s not the only one ready for a fight. In the scenes that follow, Wernick considers what it means to be gay in modern society and addresses the origins and consequences of exoticizing homosexuality. More than a commentary on sexuality and religion, the play also touches on notions of romantic love and the nature of happiness.

There are many stories in literature and real life that showcase the tension between Christian conservatives and gay individuals. Simply walking down city streets, especially during Gay Pride events, one will often see signs that tout religion and reproach homosexuals. “Homosexuality is sin” or “God said Adam and
Eve, not Adam and Steve.” What sets Future Fags of America apart is it’s sharp, biting wit and its unexpected moments of tenderness. The rapid-fire, colloquial dialogue calls to mind David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross and some of the sexual innuendos and insults sound as if the timeless Oscar Wilde could have penned them. Yet beneath the play’s satire, there beats a very real heart filled with compassion and pain. Whether you are looking for a few satisfyingly painful belly laughs, something that will challenge your mind or the emotive experience that the Internet affectionately calls “the feels,” Future Fags of America is a play worth checking out.
Have you ever felt like an exotic “other” in your own society? Aside from sexuality, what other traits might make someone feel exoticized by his/her/their society? We’d love to hear your responses! Comment here and tweet us at @Rianttheatre. Follow the conversation at #strawberryoneactfestival.  

FUTURE FAGS OF AMERICA will be performed in the Strawberry One-Act Festival in Series F on August 9th (Sun) at 3pm & August 11th (Tues) at 9pm.
For tickets go to    

Series F:  August 9th (Sun) at 3pm & August 11th (Tues) at 9pm
Art is fragile:  A gallery-goer and a might-be artist have a těte-ă-těte.
FUTURE FAGS OF AMERICA Written & Directed By Jack Wernick
Right-wing housewife squares off against LGBT activist in this homotopian satire.

Desire and trust could make the difference when living on the edge of hope and despair.

Charlie must venture through the game that is life in order to save his dearly beloved, Valarie.  He must face dragons, monsters and enemies; will he make it?  Who knows?  You’re guaranteed a thrilling show.

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