What will parents do to avoid having a gay son?
Posted on July 21, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
In the early 1990s, when genetic research was far less advanced than today, Jonathan Tolins posed the question: If a woman knew in advance that her male baby would be born gay, would she still go through with the pregnancy?
That’s the premise of his 1992 drama “The Twilight of the Golds,” which was filmed for cable television in 1997 and which receives an emotionally gripping staging courtesy of Theatre Out.
Through her husband’s medical research firm, which has devised genetic testing of fetuses, the pregnant Suzanne Gold-Stein (Jennifer Pearce) has discovered that her baby boy has the genetic markers of homosexuality.
The question of whether to keep the baby is, in fact, illuminated by the family’s firsthand experience: Suzanne’s brother David (Tim Woods) is gay, a factor that has, despite their denials, always affected his bond with her and with their parents.
The play is told from the opera-loving David’s point of view, its title a pun drawn from “The Twilight of the Gods,” the fourth opera in Wagner’s “Ring” Cycle. He frames the play’s focal issue when he asks, “What difference does being gay make?” As the story progresses, its ethical complications are magnified, even as Tolins takes time out to assail the materialism of the 1980s.
Complicating the ethical dilemma posed by Tolins is the way it splits the family. For David, who is, ironically, pro-choice, aborting the baby is tantamount to killing him. As much as she dotes on David, mom Phyllis (Karen Harris) has to admit that “it hurts to see your child become something different.”
Seeing genetic testing as a boon to mankind, Suzanne’s husband Rob (Eric James) insists that he and Suzanne “don’t need David to tell us how to live our lives,” while patriarch Walter Gold (Rick Kopps) maintains that “it’s Rob and Suzanne’s decision.”
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