(Jesse Green’s article appeared in The New York Times, 9/7; via Pam Green.)
Many of us who arrived in New York in the last decades of the last century, looking to the theater for news about what it meant to be gay, found ourselves serially disheartened.
Starting with Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band” in 1968, and continuing with Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” about a dozen years later, we faced quite a fun house mirror of gay life. Or perhaps a house of horrors.
“The Boys in the Band,” daring in its forthrightness, situated its characters on a Kinsey scale from four to six and a psychological spectrum from damaged to desperate. Arnold Beckoff, the protagonist of “Torch Song Trilogy,” could have been one of them. Though sympathetic and sassy, he was still a drag queen in an era that did not valorize that.