By Christopher Popple
“Raised By Gays and Turned Out OK!” was promoted with a picture of a toddler dressed like a drag queen, so the last person I expected to greet me on stage was a soft-spoken, demure woman with big square glasses. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have expected someone more expressive to be running the show. Its LGBT narrative is from the perspective of an outsider looking in, rather than a member of that community.
Elizabeth Collins grew up with her mother, father and older brother. Even at a young age, Ms. Collins felt the growing tension between her parents. Noting their somewhat similar appearance, she innocently assumed they were siblings who hated each other. This was how young Elizabeth thought the world worked; “you grow up, you marry your brother and life sucks.” Her life took an unexpected turn when, out of nowhere, her father moved in with his “roommate” Dale. Some time later, her parents divorced and she moved in with her father and Dale, at which point she learned the nature of their relationship.
Ms. Collins’s early childhood impression of sexuality is as funny and endearing as it is misguided. A preschooler with childlike concepts of love and marriage is amusing, but as that child grows up and continues to misunderstand gay relationships, it attests to the failure of a culture that refused to educate her. Ms. Collins’s perspective is valuable as it communicates these failings.
Eventually, Ms. Collins and her father become estranged, and she is forced to face the world on her own. With no one to rely on, she turns to Christianity for a sense of purpose. This puts further strain on her understanding of homosexuality. When she is forced to date only members of her church, she realizes how her father must have felt being married to her mother: completely trapped.
Although Ms. Collins’s style is quite dry, her narrative is a fitting memorial to her father, and does him justice.
“Raised By Gays and Turned Out OK!”
Performed by Elizabeth Collins
Oct. 20 at 6pm
Photo: courtesy of the production
United Solo 2018
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
CHRISTOPHER POPPLE is a Monmouth University graduate and budding reviewer.