Log Cabin – showing at Triangle Players through Saturday, May 20 – is a story about growth, tolerance, relationships, parenting, and privilege.
Jordan Harrison’s gay-versus-trans satirical comedy introduces us to three couples – two gays, two lesbians, and a trans friend who used to be Helen, is now Henry, and is in a relationship with a cisgender woman.
Set in 2015, the play explores the march toward progress for gay people – from working to overcome the stigma associated with AIDS, to broader social acceptance of LGB rights, to marriage equality. That the T and Q were left off there is notable, as one of the play’s main themes revolves around the questions and judgments the two couples have about their trans friend Henry.
Log Cabin mostly takes place in the posh Brooklyn apartment of Pam (Theresa Mantiply) and Jules (Nora Ogunleye), a lesbian couple about to be parents. Their longtime friends Chris (Todd Patterson) and Ezra (Jacob Le Blanc) are a gay couple also living pretty well in New York, and as it happens, also thinking about becoming parents (at least one of them is anyway). When Henry (Kellan Oelkers), who was Helen back in high school and has arrived with a younger attractive girlfriend (Rebecka Russo the night we saw it), enters the conversation, the members of the friend group explore privilege from every possible angle.
This show is short, not that sweet but still pretty funny, and very well-acted. Jacob Le Blanc’s performance as Ezra stands out. Although I was originally surprised by how infants were played, it ended up being some of my favorite acting from Oelkers and Patterson, as they explored parenthood from a baby’s point of view.
Director Julie Fulcher-Davis has done a great job of helping these actors portray complex characters as moderately likable, even when the blatant transphobia is baked into the script. In an interview with Joan Tupponce for Just Joan: RVA Storyteller at RFMonline.com, the director says the play has no ending and that’s intentional. “We have to write [the ending] and more importantly we have to choose how we will write it,” says Fulcher-Davis, about living in a time when trans people and kids continue to be targeted and marginalized.
Fulcher-Davis says the conversations people have around the show can connect communities and hearts. “When hearts connect, it allows for the possibility to tear down the walls that keep us apart.”
See Log Cabin at Triangle Players
Ninety minutes long with no intermission, there is never a dull moment. Harrison’s writing is sharp and the banter is quick.
Sitting in the audience as a college-educated, white, cisgender woman who is always trying to understand the nuances of gender and sexuality, I learned a lot about privilege and had a wonderful conversation with my date (my twenty-something child) on the walk home from Triangle Players.
I recommend Log Cabin for adults, but if your older teen is invested in the LGBTQIA (the A is for “ally”) community, it could be a good fit. See Log Cabin if you enjoy good acting and haven’t been to Triangle Players in Scott’s Addition in a while. Don’t see it if you like your arts and entertainment squarely in your comfort zone.
Log Cabin runs through Saturday, May 20, at the Richmond Triangle Players’ Robert B. Moss Theatre. For showtime and tickets, visit rtriangle.org.