THE WEST COAST PREMIERE OF FRANK ANTHONY POLITO’S “BAND FAGS”
The New Conservatory Theatre Company is presenting the West Coast premiere of Frank Anthony Polito “Band Fags” based on his award-winning novel of the same name. The two hour comedy drama explores the difficulty of growing up gay in the 1980’s.
Jack Paterino lives in the suburbs of Detroit during the 80’s and his life revolves around the little things that make the era what it was. Jack is into soap operas and pop singers like Cyndi Luper or John Cougar Mellancamp. Jack’s biggest activity as a high strung seventh grader is participating in Varsity Band. Marching and playing are a big part of his life. He soon meets Brad Dayton, a kid pretty near opposite in personality and idea to him except for their connection to the band.
A friendship forms between the two boys and as they go through the rest of the high school together, it’s clear they are in it for the long haul. Brad and Jack also have something else in common that they are unsure of. Between talking about soup opera stars and celebrities who may be like that, neither one of them voices the possibilities that they are gay. It’s a dirty word between them. They believe that liking girls is the only way to be a real guy. They try and deal with girlfriends but get tangled up in the many dramas of teenage life in an attempt to discover who they really are.
“Band Fags” seems to be a work in progress since it has played in one other city. It needs to be trimmed down to a 90 minute no intermission production. Also at present it is presented in 18 scenes and each scene the two actors change costumes such as a new t-shirts or pants. This seems unnecessary as it makes production dis-jointed.Blake Doris as Jack and James Arthur M as Brad give effective performances with the demanding task of playing 13 to17 year old boys.
Stephanie Temple direction is fast pace and Devin Kasper has devised an excellent boy’s bedroom set. “Band Fags” runs through October 13th at the Walker Theatre of the New Conservatory Theatre, 25 Van Ness just off Market Street, San Francisco. For tickets call 415-861-8972 or on line at www.nctcsf.org . Coming up next is Tom Orr’s “Dirty Little Showtunes” opening on October 11 and running through November 10th.