Several plays touched on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. SpeakEasy Stage selected "Game On" by Gary Garrison, an astute, as well as touching and funny, examination of prejudices within the gay community. In his personal ads, Ted (Grant MacDermott) takes care to specify "tall" and "straight acting"; Donnie (hilarious Connor Christiansen) falls short on both counts, though his penchant for extreme emotion often boosts him to his full height, on near-pointe. Someone is due for a comeuppance, and this sly jab at looksist mores is right on target.
The Boston Globe
Storm on Storm
"Like the caveman in Johnny Hart's "B.C." comic strip, Norton -- a furniture salesman from Summit, N.J., in Gary Garrison's inventive, achingly funny and deeply affecting one-act play, Storm on Storm," part of Stageworks/Hudson's Play By Play: Choices!? -- walks around under a tick, black, stormy cloud ... literally.
"Bad weather tracks him like a bloodhound on a mission. He's been struck trice by lightning; he's lost his job, hib body is in disarray from the lighting strikes, and his daughter doesn't want him at her wedding for fear he will rain on her parade... Enveloped in his misery, Nordon has secluded himself emotionally from his wife, Chicky, who has been battling cancer.
It's a delicate negotiation...that is as outrageously funny as it is heart-rending."
• Jeffrey Borak, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Rug Store Cowboy
"Garrison has fun exploding stereotypes here, giving us a randy, self-assured, very masculine cowboy who is entirely comfortable with his sexuality. It goes where you expect it to, but it gets there with honesty and wit."
• Martin Denton, nytheatre.com
"Rug Store Cowboy is a farcical and unserious delight."
• David Mackler, Off Off Broadway Review
"The flawed but charming Georgette has a strong sister in Lonni D, the lone character of Gary Garrison's "Cherry Reds." Lonnie D (the snappy Lorna Ventura) is ready to leave her man, and she's packing her many, many shoes, arranged in an enchanting arc around the stage: high heels, disco boots, work boots, sandals, sneakers, ruby slippers and especially the title footwear.
"Slipping on her "cherry reds," Lonnie D leaves her packing behind and recalls her high school days—in particular, questions of identity after she fielded a sexual advance from her same-gender best friend.
"The memory affirms Lonnie D because of its link not to sexual identification but to gender celebration. "Women are fierce. We're like, the fierce gender," she says, popping her lipstick with a smack.
"Mr. Garrison's material is witty and wise.
• David DeWitt, NY Times
"There is a moment in "Gawk" by Gary Garrison, part of StageWorks' fourth annual "Ten by Ten" festival of one-act plays, in which a fourth grade teacher tells a 62-year-old black grandmother that she was teaching her 10-year-old grandson how to close his p's. The boy has been killed in a drive-by shooting. The teacher has come to deliver a bloodied letter the boy was about to mail when his life was brutally cut short.
"Gawk," is the powerful communication between a grandmother living in the projects of Chicago, who has lost he 10-year-old grandson to street violence, and the teacher who witnessed the heinous act. Two women, one filled with rage, one with disbelief, struggle to answer the question, "Who is going to own this…" in this gripping drama."
• Jeffrey Borak, The Berkshire Eagle