Review: ‘Some Are People,’ some are afraid

Some people look for new turns in their lives, yet are deeply afraid they’ll find them. Three of those people are the characters of “Some Are People,” one of the four main-stage plays in the current “GayFest!” of theater presented by Quince Productions in Center City.

It’s a nicely written summer tale set in the gay-friendly haven of Provincetown, Mass., where a young woman named Lydia (the convincing Dani Solomon) literally bumps into Miss Fitt (yes, you get it), a gay man charmingly portrayed by Alexander Kacala to be a B-class female impersonator. They instantly – a little too instantly, even for breezy Provincetown – become pals after their bodily collision knocks the stuff out of each other’s bag and they finish figuring out whose lipstick is whose.

Next thing you know, Lydia and Miss Fitt, called Tommy when he’s not dragging, are in the run-down but workable rooming house where Tommy lives. The owner is a gay woman named Anna (Amber Orion, excellent in showing her character’s cautious approach to people), and she reluctantly rents Lydia a room – fewer complications, she says, if she rents only to boys.

What proceeds is a story about secrets, social gaffes and the ability to accept a genuine new chapter in a place where every spring begins a superficial one. “Some Are People” is written by Kathleen Warnock, a Philadelphian who lives and writes in New York. Part of it is about being bi-curious and – in a cool twist – another part is about being straight-curious. It has some weak and unlikely moments, when Miss Fitt is performing on-stage and draws the other two characters on to perform, too; these scenes feel forced, as though we’re supposed to buy into something that probably wouldn’t happen. Overall, though, the play has a gentle feeling and its characters seem real.

The Quince company production is polished – but at one juncture, galling. After some talk about how Lydia played El Gallo in a school show of “The Fantasticks,” she takes to the mike to sing the show’s key song, “Try To Remember.” Only in this production, she doesn’t. She comes out instead with the bittersweet throwaway song from “Les Miserables” called “Drink With Me” – a lovely piece a lot of people know, even though it’s often lost in a production of that show. Nothing glares like an inaccuracy that announces itself in a big way.

It’s a wonder that Josh Hitchens, the director, would let it happen, especially in a show, and a production, that gets so much right.

 

“Some Are People,” part of GayFest! produced by Quince Productions, runs through August 23 in the upstairs performance space at Plays & Players Theatre, on Delancey Street between 17th and 18th Streets. For all productions and events in the festival schedule, visit quinceproductions.com.

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