I wish I could think of a clever subject line for this review, but at present, one escapes me. What doesn’t escape me, is enthusiasm for PPT’s production of TRU, running now until May 22nd.

TRU_Pittsburgh_Public_Theater_1I already wrote a post about my interview with Eddie Korbich, and the short of it– the play really delivers. But I’ll try and flush that out a bit more here. But first a few more general comments.

Pittsburgh Public Theater seems to do at least one show each year that confronts head on, issues surrounding the LGBTQ community, or characters within it. This is an awesome thing, and I only wish more of the community got there to see these productions. It is so easy for some to moan that queer persons are under-represented in media, and that may be true for film, but in the ‘burgh, we can always count on PPT to deliver. Theater is an under appreciated medium for communicating stories about LGBTQ persons and issues. Come on Queer Pittsburgh, step up and take advantage of what PPT has to offer!

Real stories about real queer people are essential. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender– these terms are not monolithic entities. Each person is a unique and complex mix of stuff in ways that are just like anyone else. Coming to appreciate this reality, and at the same time be aware of the uniqueness of queer persons is a passive form of activism, because it makes these complexities known.

TRU

TRU_Pittsburgh_Public_Theater_4There are three aspects of this poignant show that I want to speak to today.

  1. Eddie Korbich  Eddie is marvelous as Capote. After interviewing him, it is magical to watch him on stage being a character quite different from himself. Eddie commits to Capote completely, and this makes for great theater.
  2. Intimacy. Tru has a line in the show about why so many socialite women love having him around– though I can’t recall it exactly, but it has do do with intimacy. And this quality is so perfectly created and captured here.  Even though I rationally know I am sitting in a theater with hundreds of people, I always felt as if Tru was talking directly to me, or to another person in the audience. Tru never talks at the audience or just talks, if you know what I mean. From start to finish, Tru is in real dialogue with me as a viewer, as a confidant, as a friend. This quality of the real life Capote is so much of what this show is about and Eddie’s ability to make it happen is beautiful.
  3. Fragility.  Tru is fully pained that he has hurt two very special women in his life– his swans, and this pain is palpable. He is so human, so real and so beautiful with all his  flaws and idiosyncrasies. And the ease with which– or perhaps the depth to which he is hurt is remarkable for someone who has been so in the limelight. It left me thinking about how much each of us function from a place of being hurt. And regardless, we arise and seek to succeed and overcome even when we don’t know that is what we are doing.

TRU_Pittsburgh_Pittsburgh_Theater_3In my iterview with Eddie, he said that as he read, he got more and more caught up in the role, till he knew he just had to do it. For me, that moment– when I was so totally captured– was when Tru is talking about his writing at eight years old. His writing then, like the article that has got him in hot water as an adult are so alike, and I’m reminded me how much we all replay and recreate patterns and actions throughout our life.

I grew up in a violent alcoholic household, and there were elements of Tru the alcoholic I could empathize with and care about in ways that surprised me. My favorite example? The phone call to the florist. After you see the show let me know if you liked it as much as I did. The other really touching moment for me, was the phone call to Jack.

As is the case with every show at the Public, sets and lighting were divine. At the Public, theater is professional theater, and you get your ticket’s worth in every respect. My only complaint- I wish they had published the music playlist in the program.

Go see Tru before it ends. You will be glad you did. Tickets.

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