Ambiguously Gay Duo
BY Brandon Voss
February 11 2009 12:00 AM ET
Bartram and Hill, who met as actors in the original Canadian production of Forever Plaid in 1993, consider themselves best friends in addition to partners. Could there be a similar romantic connection between the characters they’ve created, or is it just Broadway’s biggest bromance?
“It’s definitely a love story,” admits Bartram. “These two guys are soul mates, people who couldn’t be who they are without each other. We wanted to make it as simple and as strong as that without it becoming a typical love story.”
“We’ve specifically written a piece that’s full of ambiguity,” adds Hill, “so it’s up to the audience to decide. We want to raise questions like, 'What was the level of this relationship?' We’re finding that people come away from the piece with vastly different opinions, which we find thrilling. We’ve had people say, ‘That character’s absolutely gay and in love with that character.’ Other people say, ‘No, that’s not what the relationship was about at all!’”
But if anyone’s likely to question the characters’ sexuality in The Story of My Life, both writers suspect it will be gay theatergoers. “Because the story’s ambiguous, people tend to apply their own stories to it,” Bartram explains. “That helps it connect to all kinds of individuals.”
While skeptics may wonder how the little-show-that-could will stack up against splashier upcoming Broadway saviors like 9 to 5 and revivals of West Side Story and Guys and Dolls, the creators of The Story of My Life think the temperature of their musical perfectly suits our nation’s current sociopolitical climate.
“The presidential election was the first real sign that people feel that something has to change,” says Bartram. “If there’s any synchronicity here, it’s that we’ve landed on Broadway in a time when people are looking for something different. This show definitely fits the bill.”