The Gay Card dives into the inner monologues of three gay men in a small city navigating the dating scene. The characters, known by their Grindr usernames, are all played by two actors, who trade off roles based on the needs of the scene. This, combined with the lack of real names used, offers a “they’re all the same” vibe, which supports the initial thesis of the play.
Once the play gets into full swing, we get to know each character intimately, witnessing their motivations and needs while they watch television, change their clothes, and text potential partners. There is no great concensus in theatre over how to appropriately convey texting in a clear but nonintrusive way, though it’s become increasingly essential to modern storylines. The Gay Card handles the presence of technology in human connection simply and perfectly. The character highlighted speaks his messages aloud, while the guy on the receiving end speaks his texts the way our principal perceives them. We have the privilege of seeing a few conversations portrayed from both angles, which allows a window into the frustrations and misunderstandings of texting while dating.
Every character is complex. There are no villains, there are no heroes, there are no jokers. Each man deserves fairness, love, and respect, from his partners and from his audience. The structure of the play serves the characters flawlessly, jumping from one storyline to another, ignoring linear timelines the way memory does.
Logan Martin-Arcand’s play is complex and fascinating. Ed Mendez’s direction is moving and generous. Torien Cafferata and Mitchell Kent Larsen jump from character to character with honesty and precision. This was an incredibly poignant play about the minutiae of dating and the magnitude of vulnerability. I hope to see it produced again very soon.
On a scale from 1 to Weird: 3
Who should see this show? Anyone currently (or formerly) dating who feels lost in the cynicism of it all. Anyone who’s struggled with vulnerability and honesty. Queer audiences struggling with the new and unanswered questions that city dating poses.