Lest anyone dare to forget the plague that took the lives of too many young and old, talented and loving homosexuals due to having unsafe sex way back then in the not so innocent 80’s Terrence McNally has written MOTHERS AND SONS – a eulogy to Andre – the unseen son of Katherine Gerard (Tyne Daly) and deceased lover of Cal Porter (Frederick Weller). It is also an examination of four generations and their take on homosexuality, AIDS and its repercussions.
Cal has moved on from the untimely and horrible death of Andre at age 29 – an actor who is best remembered for his portrayal of Hamlet – a Dane with mother issues. An affliction that Andre shared with Hamlet.
Cal is now married to Will Ogden (Bobby Steggert) – a much younger, would be writer who stays at home caring for their son Bud Ogden-Porter (Grayson Taylor) while Cal brings in the big bucks allowing them to live on Central Park West overlooking the Park below.
A view that Cal is pointing out to the mink clad Katherine as the play begins in the spacious pre-war apartment designed by John Lee Beatty and beautifully lit by Jeff Croiter.
Andre’s mother has dropped by unexpectedly from Dallas on her way to Rome for the Christmas holidays to deliver her son’s diary to Cal. It’s been almost twenty years since they last connected – if that’s the right word.
It’s almost a one sided conversation as Katherine stands there rigidly, not taking off her coat and promising that she won’t stay long – replying tersely. Both looking straight out towards the audience.
She is tense, uncomfortable and still in denial about her son’s homosexuality. She wants to know who gave him the disease and wants revenge. She is bitter and full of hate that slowly bubbles to the surface as she tries to understand Cal’s new husband and their polite, bright and innocent six year old son who asks lots and lots of questions.
She has not moved on even after the recent death of her husband. She is totally alone now and we get some back story as to why she is as she is. Cal tries patiently to explain how much Andre and he loved each other but has found someone new on the internet.
Will is too young to know much about the plague and is happily living the life of the new liberated gay man comfortable in his own skin – happily married. Bud is the innocent one and happy as a lark with two daddies and his bubble bath and Oreo cookies.
Mr. McNally gets on his usual soap box hammering home for gay rights and that if they didn’t deny us the dignity of marriage then maybe Aids would not have happened – but even married couples stray…
There is a lot of heated bantering back and forth as they try to sort out their lives and it is left to the young Bud to finally bring Katherine around in this darkly humorous, heartfelt and well intentioned production that is played to the hilt by Ms. Daly and the three men in her life under the astute direction of Sheryl Kaller. At the Golden Theatre.
Photos: Joan Marcus
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