If only Nicky Silver’s plays were as wild and crazy as they
seem to want to be! The author of *Pterodactyls* and *The Food
Chain* has made a name for himself writing plays with long
operatic monologues often by self-hating fat gay boys and/or
their emotionally invasive mothers. So it is with *The Eros
Trilogy*, which is not a trilogy but a long one-act preceded
by two monologues and an intermission. In Part I, a wealthy
white woman named Claire bemoans at length how grotesque the
world has become now that so many people spit on the sidewalk.
In Part II, her high-strung overweight son Philip delivers a
tirade about how ugly genitals are. He recalls making out with
a buck-toothed adolescent girl in the bathroom who made fun of
him for getting a boner, and then he describes his infatuation
with a waiter whom he follows home one night and whom, after
the waiter turns him down, he hits in the head with a brick.
The somewhat more cuddly Part
III consists of excessively intimate letters written over the
course of 25 years from Miriam to her more reticent but loving
gay son Roger.
In these extended arias built
on an accretion of tiny detail, pathology gives way to a
touching exchange of confidences, yet when you pay attention
the details sound generic or somehow secondhand. We’re never
as shocked by the characters’ behavior as they are. For
instance, Miriam eventually reveals that she is an alcoholic
(!) and having an affair with a man who’s not only married
(!!) but fat (!!!). Even the heart-warming finale, in which
Roger exclaims about how lucky he is to have loved the people
he’s loved in his life, is borrowed from the climactic scene
of Scott MacPherson’s play and movie *Marvin’s Room*.
Silver really is a lucky dog,
though -- actors adore performing his plays. *The Eros
Trilogy*, which played at the Vineyard Theater in New York
from January 21 to February 27, boasted no less than Betty
Buckley, reigning diva for gay theatergoers, in a star turn as
both Claire and Miriam. Surrounded by David C. Woolard’s
gorgeous clothes, Neil Patel’s elegant set, and Jeff
Croiter’s magnificent lighting, Buckley made Silver’s
prose sound like Cocteau set to music by Debussy. If only....
The Advocate, March 16, 1999