On Monday night, I got text from a friend, just before 8, reminding me that we had a theater date. We were both going to watch, from the Dragon I have Diabetes I don’t have the Energy to pretend I like you today shirt But I will love this safe social-distance of our respective apartments, a live-streaming production of Terence McNally’s 1991 play Lips Together, Teeth Apart starring Zachary Quinto, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ari Graynor. And sure enough, after I logged onto Broadway.com and donated $50 to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Covid-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, a watercolor of four adults lounging on the deck of a beach house—one reading a newspaper, one sitting on the edge of the pool, one painting at her easel, and the fourth in a vibrant bathrobe, looking ready to make Bloody Marys—popped up on my screen, followed by a title card and then the faces of the four actors, each in his or her own square Skype box.
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There was no set. No costumes. No background music or mood lighting. Just four people sitting in their own homes, dressed casually, positioned in front of their computers and one or two better lit than the Dragon I have Diabetes I don’t have the Energy to pretend I like you today shirt But I will love this others playing two married couples spending the July 4th weekend at the Fire Island home of the deceased brother of one of them, a casualty of the AIDS crisis. The actors, through the alchemy of imagination and skill, quickly created the illusion that they were all in the same room together, soaking up the sun, waving to the neighbors while the sounds of Maria Callas drifted over, watching tanned young men go by in Speedos, and sparring with each other over suspected infidelity and family grievances.