Jordan Seavey's one-act, making its Chicago debut at Pride Films and Plays, tells, in fits and starts, the story of a relationship over a five-year period. The Writer (Niko Kourtis) and the Academic (Nelson A. Rodriguez) are gay, thirtysomething Brooklynites who fall in love fast and are quickly confronted with the challenges of monogamy and sharing their lives with a partner. The story isn't told chronologically, and the transitions seem intentionally jarring as we see glimpses of the end, beginning, and middle of their relationship as well as its aftermath. Played on a small set—and in a very hot room on the night I attended—Homos puts the audience right in there with the couple, sweating through every fight and observing the subtleties of their physical language.
Kourtis and Rodriguez use their entire bodies in this performance, demonstrating both the agony and ecstasy of intimate connection with another person. They transition seamlessly from love to hate and back again, though most of the important moments center on the discovery of how easy it is to hurt those closest to you when you're hurting inside. The play covers a lot of ground in order to contextualize each man's inner turmoil: the couple debates everything from threesomes to the use of poppers to the gay community's perception in America. These issues lay a critical foundation for what it means to be gay today, but the show's strongest moments stay within the Writer and the Academic's relationship. v