Friday, May 12, 2017

REVIEW: It's All Tru: Sky GIlbert doesn't let facts get in the way of politics

There's much to admire about the prolific and always provocative Sky Gilbert's latest play, IT'S ALL TRU.

It's a sharply observed examination of age, class, sex, and politics among gay white men, centered around a love triangle:  Kurt (a well-cast Tim Post), a buttoned-down, Brooks Brothers professor with a good job, a nice condo and a thing for younger men, his fiance, Travis ( an excellent David Coomber) a young theatre director who's nowhere nearly as dumb as he acts, and Gideon ( a heart-breaking Caleb Olivieri), a trick Travis picks up on some"dating" app one night when Kurt is out of town.

Kurt and Travis are a modern couple:  their relationship is an open one, with parameters and rules governing sex outside the relationship. Gideon and his ilk: hot, under-employed, emotionally confused young gay guys are to be used for sex and discarded like take-out containers.

Gideon however actually likes Travis and felt an emotional as well as a sexual connection during their one night stand. He flat-out pursues Travis with an endearingly awkward ardor and he does manage to gain some ground with the object of his affections.  Gideon is  spottily employed, he's been in trouble with the law, he lives in Hamilton and, well - he has no money.

Travis initially rebuffs Gideon, but as Kurt becomes increasingly controlling and proprietary, Travis has a decision to make.

Oh yeah: Travis and Gideon had unprotected sex (something Travis tells us he and Kurt NEVER do) and Gideon is HIV-positive. Travis is taking "after" pills (he forgot his "before" pills).  No one is going to die from this:  not like 25 years ago.

Consent is an issue:  did the party drugs they both took nullify Travis's consent to bareback?  Kurt says it does. Gideon is sure Travis consented to bare-backing:  in fact, he claims Travis asked for it.  Travis isn't sure-or is he?

This is where things got complicated for me.  Replace HIV with "pregnant" and you've pretty much got a straight couple dealing with the fact that sex without protection sometimes has unexpected and undesirable consequences not easily remedied by a course of antibiotics.  Geez, really, you think?

My sister was the lead defense counsel on R. v. Mabior, the 2012 case that redefined the law around HIV and disclosure.  The rule of law is simple and the decision of the court was unanimous:  you don't have disclose your status if you wear a condom, if you want to bareback (or your partner does) you do.  Mr. Mabior, for the record, was straight. My sister felt the law should be "caveat emptor".  So, apparently does Gilbert. The court did not agree.

By the way, Kurt could not call someone at the private bar (lawyers you hire to defend you) and get Gideon charged with aggravated sexual assault, convicted, and then incarcerated.  Travis would have to have gone to the police and charged Gideon.  The police and the Crown would have to have determined if there was sufficient evidence to lay charges.Travis would have to have testified at a sexual assault trial. Any half-decent defense lawyer would have made mince-meat out of his testimony.  Professor Gilbert really ought to know better.

Gilbert also has Kurt troll Gideon ( he's in a hoodie:  we and he can't see his face) at a urinal in a men's room.  Oh how I wish Gideon had whipped out his camera and photographed the incident.  A far more interesting discussion about sex, power, consent, and the law might have ensued when the photo and the story turned up on Twitter.

Without consent, it's sexual assault.  Why is it so hard to get men - gay or straight - to understand something so bloody simple?
Image result for It's all tru photosThe Cabaret Company and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre present It’s All Tru written and directed by Sky Gilbert, playing until May 14th at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre 12 Alexander Street. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 416-975-8555, at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre box office, or online here.


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