We Were There, a new play by Chuck Blasius about a lifelong relationship that begins the night of the Stonewall riots in New York City, has a private reading 8 PM Jan. 29 at the Bank Street Theatre in Manhattan.
Starting at the dawn of the modern gay rights movement, when police clashed with gays at a bar in Greenwich Village in summer 1969, the play follows the lives of two characters over 30 years. Robert Gomes (Broadway's Racing Demon and Last Night of Ballyhoo) and Eric Paeper (The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me) are featured in the reading, presented by Other Side Productions. The play had an earlier reading in fall 2001.
"I was watching TV news reports on the 30th anniversary of Stonewall two years ago," Blasius told Playbill On-Line. "I was channel surfing and found one of the movie channels was showing Same Time, Next Year, and that got me thinking about the possibility of telling a story of a relationship between two men that has real staying power — I've had male friends and lovers for 30 years, 20 years. And I know male couples who've been together for decades. These stories don't get told. And I also thought it could also express feelings I have about being a gay man in middle age, something I don't see expressed on 'Queer As Folk' or 'Will and Grace' any of the plethora of gay plays that have naked boys running around. I think that there is a large group of gay theatregoers who don't see their experience reflected on the stage, and this story gave me the opportunity to express that."
Blasius was co-creative director of In The Company of Actors (INCOACT), for which he directed John Guare's Bosoms and Neglect and Something I'll Tell You Tuesday, Robert Patrick's Lights and Camera Obscura, Lanford Wilson's The Madness of Lady Bright, Wallace Shawn's Marie and Bruce, the premiere productions of John Alban Coughlan's Of Lives and Leaves, and his own play Lonely Too Long. He is also the author of Bette and Kate Join the Line, a play he wrote and performed with Robert Kahan at the Duplex for a seven-month run. Last spring, Blasius directed Other Side's premiere production of Peter Mercurio's Andrew Reaches the Other Side. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.