By: Shannon Ralph
Jon Marans’s 2005 play “A Strange and Separate People” is currently being staged at the Studio Theater on Theater Row in New York City. The play is a three-character drama that addresses the struggles many encounter in trying to accept being gay while adhering to their religious beliefs. In this case, the characters are Orthodox Jews.
In the play, Stuart (Noah Weisberg), a doctor and recent convert from nonobservance to Orthodoxy, thinks he can be part of a new breed of “discreet but open” gay men. He visits the Upper West Side home of Phyllis (Tricia Paoluccio), the frazzled mother of an unseen (but often heard) autistic child, to discuss the possibility of hiring her catering service for a party. Their unlikely friendship develops a snag when Phyllis’s husband, Jay (Jonathan Hammond), enters the picture over an awkward Sabbath dinner. Jay happens to be a psychologist who provides therapy for “same-sex attraction disorder.” It soon becomes apparent, however, that a much messier reality is lingering just below the surface.
If you live in New York or plan to visit New York, check out the newly renovated Studio Theater and catch the latest production of Marans’s drama. “A Strange and Separate People” continues through July 30 at the Studio Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, (212) 239-6200.
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