ORLANDO — So what is it with those straight guys?
You know, the ones who are so freakin’ uptight about their masculinity, or what the lunkheads over at the roadhouse are going to think, that even something as simple as a little friendly hug is way off limits. Sheesh.
In this hip era of gay marriage, where we’re all so enlightened and even healthy majorities of Catholics and Protestants favor those non-traditional nuptials, can’t a couple of straight guys just show a tiny bit of affection for one another — you know, just as buds — without the whole world thinking they’re just a couple of homos?
And now we have the answer, folks, courtesy of playwright Peter Tolan’s play “Pillow Talk,” brought to us by director Jamie DeHay.
The answer is one big, fat, hilarious NO!
If you’re wondering why, catch “Pillow Talk” at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. When you notice that the only thing on the stage is a bed, and that the play features just two actors (Logan Ayala and Jonathan “Gyo” Gamble), you get a pretty good sense of where things are headed.
So — the plot. Aaron (Ayala) and Doug (Gamble) are best buddies doing a cross-country road trip together. They spend a night with Aaron’s grandma, who is nice enough to let them share her bed while she sleeps on the couch in the next room. So Aaron strips down to his shorts, hops in bed, and is ready to call it a night.
Only — Doug isn’t.
Doug, see, is a bit uncomfortable with this situation. Two guys sharing … like … the same bed?
Of course, Aaron says. Where else is Doug going to sleep? After all, they’re in a mobile home. There’s only one bed.
Doug fidgets. Doug procrastinates. He won’t even take off his shoes. He’s got a half-naked guy next to him in this bed. Isn’t there something weird and kinda homo about this situation?
It takes an increasingly annoyed, frustrated, even downright furious Aaron to convince Doug that there’s nothing weird or homo about two straight dudes sharing a bed.
What’s most amusing, though, is how their attitudes start to shift — with both guys going in the opposite direction on that question.
“Pillow Talk” is a short play, about 45 minutes long, and that gives the actors just enough time to milk the situation for all its comedic potential — from guiltily sharing their “one and only” gay experience as a teen, to dealing with grandma when she walks in at a, shall we say, most inopportune time.
And the fact that both Ayala and Gamble have a fine ability to convincingly play uptight, self-conscious heteros doesn’t hurt either. Their comic timing is exceptionally good. Male bonding was never so entertaining as this.
“Pillow Talk” is the kind of gay show, in fact, that you can happily take your straight friends to. Chances are, they’ll be laughing too — well, the women, anyway.
“Pillow Talk” is being performed in the Yellow Venue. Catch it on the following dates:
* Wednesday May 24 at 7:30 p.m.
* Thursday May 25 at 10:30 p.m.
* Friday May 26 at 7 p.m.
* Sunday, May 28 at 11:59 p.m.
For tickets visit Orlando Fringe.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com..