Dada Woof Papa Hot

blogthumbjohnandpatrick.jpg__280x240_q85_crop_subsampling-2Dada Woof Papa Hot
Written by Peter Parnell
Directed by Scott Ellis
Lincoln Center Theater at the Mitzi E. Newhouse

Production websiteย ๐Ÿ’‰๐Ÿ’‰ out of 5.

Gay marriage is a done deal – – now the issue that is up to bat is gay parenting. ย Dada Woof Papa Hot explores the joys and challenges of gay parenting. This is certainly a relevant issue in that the next step on the road to true equality for gay Americans is the right to be parents. The play certainly looks into the many ramifications of this issue from the silly to the naughty to the serious. As the play started, I thought we were going to see the worst of gay plays: clever gay New Yorkers having dinner parties with their liberal friends talking of the challenges of the wealthy and well-educated. I am sure that the Upper West Side audience for this play enjoyed all of the clever humor of the Upper West Side about their fellow Upper West Siders. I am just not sure of the audience for this play outside of this limited demographic.

I did not find any conflict in the first twenty minutes – – lots of clever talk about how a child will change your life forever and how oneโ€™s sex life is the first victim to this new member of the family. But then things improved. We are introduced to a younger gay couple, equally with child and the things got much more complicated . . and much more interesting – – infidelity. Some of this seems familiar. Can one have a committed long-term relationship and freely explore dalliances with others – as long as those dalliances are strictly about sex with no attachments? Can the most liberal of gay relationships work with this? Perhaps. But when the two men are DADS? Does that change the game? Does that make it more difficult to โ€œGet Your Sexy Onโ€? Would it be weird to turn up the heat in the momentarily empty room of your small child? Can you consider illicit sex on a bed filled with stuffed toys? Do gay dads loose their membership in the sexy club? It was here in the uncomfortable, steamy moments between two gay dads each attached to other husbands that the play really took off. Now we had some good olโ€™ fashioned conflict. Now the dramaturgy got back on track.

The set was beautiful (the very best of Pottery Barn). The actors were winning (a bit ironic that the two primary characters were last seen in another gay but far more grim production of the Tony Award winning Normal Heart. Finally the play contained the one indispensable item that any self-respecting gay play of the 21st century has – – the much younger, ever so attractive, often not the brightest, buff naked man. It cannot be considered a gay play unless you have this character. Just canโ€™t have it. And thatโ€™s a goodย thing . . .

On a final, final note – – why is this naked character always fresh out the shower, pool, ocean, or bathtub? I guess itโ€™s as good of a reason as any to get those clothes off early in Act 2.

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