Here’s a revelation: relationships are never easy—especially gay relationships. Outré Theatre Co. offers South Florida audiences a witty, provocative examination of our complicated affairs in Gregory Naufft’s “Next Fall,” opening March 8 at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center.
In Naufft’s 2010 Outer Critics Circle award-winner, the stumbling blocks for a young couple are faith and religious conviction.
Luke is a devout believer. Adam is his boyfriend, and a militant agnostic. “Next Fall” chronicles the relationship of this unlikely couple over the course of their five-year relationship, from their meeting at a dinner event where Luke is waiting tables, to their breakups and makeups, and finally the tragedy that forces Adam to seek comfort, strength, and communion with Luke’s religious parents.
“Nauffts has written a very funny, very powerful piece,” said Skye Whitcomb, Outré’s artistic director and the director of the production. “While the characters often exchange witty repartee, they also share their joy and sadness in a way that is very real and truthful. They struggle with identity, with belief in both the tangible and the intangible, and with their relationships with themselves and others. At its core, it’s a very beautiful, very moving love story.”
Beautiful and moving, yes, but thought-provoking, too, Whitcomb emphasized. Naufft is never “heavy-handed,” and Whitcomb admits there are too many sad stories being told about tragic relationships, both gay and straight.
“It has a serious message to it, but at its core, this is a story about joy, two men who come together…nobody thinks it’s going to work. Everyone assumes that it will fail, but they complete each other. That says so much more than if we spend the entire time talking about tragedy,” he said.
The play was a perfect fit for Outré, a company that has long told important stories of marginalized communities. The company’s mission statement declares: “Outré believes that theatre is a living art form with the power to reimagine and reexamine ourselves and the world around us. [We] strive to create theatre which stimulates thought, provokes reflection, and encourages activism.”
“Outré has always tried to speak to those groups who don’t get the attention they deserve. I’m a straight white cisgender college educated male; I’m as privileged as you can get, but I have a duty to tell these stories,” he explained. “We want to do work that speaks, that lets us all know that there are issues to be thought about and wrestled with. There are no easy answers to the problems we as human beings all face.”
The cast includes Charlie Alguera and Stephen Kaiser as Luke and Adam. Kat Gold, a veteran of Outré’s critically-acclaimed production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” returns to the stage, along with longtime South Florida actor Kevin Reilley and newcomers Zac Gowdie and Siobhan Nolan.
After many years as a “traveling” theater company, Outré returns to its new home, the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, for a second season. Whitcomb said the location has been ideal for the company, which is attracting audiences from south Broward County all the way to Lake Worth and West Palm Beach.
Outré Theatre Co. presents Gregory Naufft’s “Next Fall” March 8 – 31 at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, 50 W. Atlantic Blvd. Tickets are $29 through March 7 and $39 after at CCPompano.org.