Two legendary heroes engage in ‘warplay’ at Out Front

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On the heels of a tight-knit lesbian period piece, Atlanta’s only exclusively LGBTQ theater troupe turns to two mythic male figures for a reflection on male intimacy and the effects of prolonged wartime on any society.

#Nocap warplay reimagines the relationship between legendary Trojan War figures — and widely speculated lovers — Achilles and Petroclus. The depiction of modern, fatigues-wearing soldiers “A” and “P” aims to open a discussion on gay male relationships.

“A brief look through history probably won't yield a lot of gay people,” says Justin Kalin, director of the Out Front production, in a prepared statement. “We're taught world history with this weird blind spot that implies gay people weren't there, we only just showed up on the scene when in reality, we've been here from the start.

“That's how we landed on warplay. JC Lee explores gay male intimacy, toxicity, and heroism through the lens of the iconic Grecian duo Achilles and Patroclus,” he continues. “The play asks audiences what it means to be a man in ancient Greece and what does it mean now?”

The formal description of the play makes some intriguing promises: “warplay requires us to reexamine our assumptions about heroism and love. The journey of the two is a meditation on male intimacy, destiny, and how the constant shadow of war may warp us all.”

Playwright Lee is a writing veteran of TV shows including Looking and The Morning Show, and viewers of those shows will easily see why the theater promises material that is both funny and poetic. The local production is led by Kalin, as well as cast members Greogry Piccirilli (Angry Fags, upcoming short film Max) as “A” and Andy Stanesic (Xanna Don’t!, The Grown Up) as “P.”

With no other actors on stage, the performances are expected to be raw and intimate. To that end, Out Front boasts a new, thoroughly modern crew position for warplay: Intimacy Director. That person makes sure actors feel safe and comfortable with scenes depicting nudity, simulated sex and other challenging stage moments. They traditionally advocate for the actors with the director and can even help with choreography of body movements. 

Photo by Diane Haymes photography. Warplay runs Thursdays through Sundays, March 12-28, plus an Industry Night performance on March 23, at Out Front Theatre. Tickets are $15 – $25.

This article originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the latest issue online here:

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