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Plan-B Theatre Company: Adam and Steve and the Empty Sea

It would be easy to expect Utah audiences on either end of the political spectrum to expect a play about the friendship between a Mormon and a gay man to be a diatribe. Instead, playwright Matthew Greene has opted for a dialogue—one that’s quietly engrossing in its thorny humanity.

Adam & Steven and the Empty Sea follows two best friends who have grown up together in California: Adam (Topher Rasmussen, right), raised in an LDS family, and Steve (Logan Tarantino, left), who acknowledges to Adam during their senior year of high school that he’s gay. The play weaves back and forth through time, observing them as carefree schoolboy playmates between episodes that follow their respective lives over the course of three pivotal years.

Director Jason Bowcutt oversees a minimalist production that focuses on the performances by Rasmussen and Tarantino, who effortlessly convey a decade-long friendship. Their interactions are complicated, just as much by Steve’s inability to fully accept Adam’s faith as by Adam’s inability to fully accept Steve’s sexuality. “Maybe you can’t support what you don’t understand,” Adam explains to Steve, wonderfully distilling the barrier that can rise between two people who still care about each other.

While the 2008 Prop 8 controversy makes a cameo appearance in the plot, Greene doesn’t use it to score easy points, nor does he lean on the apparent hypocrisy of Adam’s teen alcohol abuse. He simply shows us two people doing their best to feel their way through the collision between their most profound beliefs and their deepest personal connections. (Scott Renshaw)

Date: Feb 5, 2013
Phone: 801-355-2787
Address: 138 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 84101
Where: Rose Wagner Center