After canceling its first preview Sept. 19, Another American: Asking and Telling, Obie winner Marc Wolf's exploration of gay and lesbian participation in the armed forces, opens at Seattle Repertory Theatre Sept. 24. The one-man show, performed and written by Wolf, runs in the Leo K. Theatre through Oct. 28.
At this sensitive time in the country's history, any contemplation of the military carries highly charged meaning. In a statement, Seattle Rep's artistic director Sharon Ott wrote "We open the season with Marc Wolf's Another American: Asking and Telling, a poignant play in which one actor brings to life eighteen people who share a love for their country and a desire to serve it. At a time when our nation faces opposition, this play provides a unique opportunity to explore how we can come together, recognize our differences, and yet still unite around common goals. That's the essence of who we are as Americans."
To create his piece, Wolf interviewed straight, gay and lesbian members of the military services (whose careers span World War II to the current armed forces), as well as civil rights lawyers, judges, professors and politicians. Their words, edited and cut, are used verbatim as monologues in Wolf's work. Among the characters are civilian Charles Moskos, Northwestern sociology professor and author of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, a lesbian activist desperate to be reinstated, "Mary Ann," a gay Vietnam veteran who remembers cutting his fatigues into hot pants, and a soldier testifying against lifting the ban on gays before the Senate.
Before a successful OBIE-nominated run at the New Group's Off-Broadway space Dec. 7, 1999-Feb. 2, 2000, Wolf staged Asking and Telling at New York Stage & Film, Provincetown Repertory Theatre, Dixon Place and Mabou Mines. Since then, the show has traveled across the country, including San Francisco and Los Angeles. Wolf's Off-Broadway roles have included Ray and Kevin in The Party, Max in Bent and Platonov in Wild Honey.
Tony-nominated director Joe Mantello (Love! Valour! Compassion!) helms the show. Mantello's credits include Design for Living and the upcoming Assassins for the Roundabout Theatre Company, Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, Neil Labute's bash and Paula Vogel's The Mineola Twins. Tickets are $44-$36. Seattle Repertory Theatre is located in the Seattle Center at the corner of Second Avenue and Mercer Street. For reservations, call (206) 443-2222. Seattle Repertory Theatre is on the web at http://www.seattlerep.org.
— By Christine Ehren