Arresting but not wholly convincing in the present—would you spend four years with someone who thinks your life together is evil?—Nauffts's setup evokes the gradual, painful coming-out of gays in the post-Stonewall era, especially the anguish of the plague years, when numberless AIDS-ward vigils merged with legally unprotected same-sex unions to produce a torrent of such acrimonious scenes: gay men bodily ejected from their dying lover's hospital rooms, or coming home from the memorial service to find their belongings dumped in the hall and the locks changed on the apartment door. The young don't know these stories, which need to be told.

In this regard, Next Fall, with its quick-sketch characters and its mixture of topics half touched on, marks, like The Temperamentals, only the beginning of a long process of retelling, dramatizing, and sorting fact and memory together in meaningful ways. That is history's terrible paradox: The past is always there, but we are always only at the beginning.

A kind of Romeo and Juliet: Ryan and Urie in The Temperamentals
Michael Portainiere/FollowSpotPhoto.com
A kind of Romeo and Juliet: Ryan and Urie in The Temperamentals

Details

The Temperamentals
By Jon Marans
TBG 2 Theater
312 West 36th Street, 212-868-4444

Next Fall
By Geoffrey Nauffts
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre
416 West 42nd Street, 212-279-4200

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