by Sabrina Khan
It’s 1958 and Sylvia, Philip and Oliver are struggling to find love and come to terms with their sexuality. Shoot forward to 2008 and now they are trying to discern the fine line between love and lust and find true companionship. Caught in “an erotic time warp,” The Pride tells the story of two sets of three individuals with the same names and how they deal with the hardships of love amidst each society’s sexual attitudes during the two different time periods.
In 1958, Philip is in deep denial of his sexual orientation. An incredibly virile man who finds “effeminate” men “offensive,” Philip finds his world turned upside down when his wife Sylvia introduces him to Oliver, and the two develop a private relationship that he eventually deems the cause of a mental disorder.
Heavily manipulated by the 1950s views on the issue, Philip refuses to accept the truth and tries to lead a “normal” life with little consideration for Sylvia who, in turn, never gets the chance to feel the kind of bond with her husband that he once shared with Oliver. Victims of his betrayal, Oliver and Sylvia recognize their positions, but the pressures of the era silence their emotions and their lives are forcefully and heart wrenchingly dictated by Philip’s actions.
The production fast-forwards to 2008, where Oliver personally identifies himself as a sexual deviant. He is completely in love with Philip but constantly seeks meaningless encounters with anonymous men. As a loyal partner, Philip cannot accept this and leaves Oliver. A weakened and heartsick man, he finds solace in their mutual best friend, Sylvia. Sylvia meanwhile tries to find her own happiness, but often finds herself wedged between Oliver and Philip, helping them to solve their issues. In the present, all three realize how much has changed, but they also know that as “free” as they may finally be, obstacles still exist. Amidst this thickening drama, Sylvia dramatically and comically reveals that there is more to the gay community than a great knowledge of draperies and culinary instinct. There is a whole past of struggle and hope that enables them to show their pride.
Led by a stellar cast, The Pride is a passionate and potent play that recounts the progress of homosexuality in the public eye. It is a truly intense show with moments of profound and frightening impact that will be memorable to all those who open their minds to it.
TICKETS: $15 student rush thru 3/28 - Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St