What do you get when you place two lesbians, an 18 year old boy loathing to grab his penis and all the elements of a farcical sitcom? You have quality queer theater at its best. Arouet is a new theater company in town that is about to open a new show, in fact, it’s the Seattle premiere of The Gene Pool written by Christi Stewart-Brown. This is Arouet’s second production and will be performed at Annex Theatre on Capitol Hill from June 3rd to the 19th. It’s a story about the 18-year old son of two lesbian mothers who wants to find out who his father is.
Meet the Grays—an average family. Mira cooks, cleans, wears dresses, is sexually frustrated and her spouse is a workaholic veterinarian. Their son, almost 18, has a new girlfriend that he wants to lose his virginity with, is always hungry, and is constantly pulling on his penis. The only way in which this family is not conventional is that the parents are both women. What happens when their son wants to know who his dad is? The Gene Pool explores the family’s relationships and how they are dealing with their mid-life crises, their son’s resolution to lose his virginity, and… oh yeah, his question, “Moms, who is my Dad?”
The stellar cast includes Amelia Meckler, Colleen Carey, Kyle Johnson, Zandi Carlson and Bruce Erickson with direction by Roy Aruaz. Seattle Gay Scene and Mr. Arauz conducted a brief interview:
Seattle Gay Scene: What about “The Gene Pool” made you want to produce and direct in Seattle?
Roy Arauz: I have known Christi’s work since the early 90s, her work and company introduced me to fringe theatre in Washington DC. Ever since I started doing theatre in Seattle in 2003, I have wanted to produce one of her plays. Of her plays, the only one I wasn’t familiar with was, The Gene Pool. A few years ago I finally read it, and it blew me away. It’s a sitcom, a comedy about lesbians raising a kid, but with a lot of substance. It is not a militant, pro-gay show. It is about a family, a lesbian family. As a gay man, it’s important to me to see families that ring true to the community.
I want to do my part in showcasing Christi’s work and hopefully inspire others to produce the show. This play should be widely produce and not have almost a ten-year gap between productions.
There is also the fact that I love working with women – I gravitate towards plays about strong, interesting women. This play gave me an opportunity to do just that.
SGS: During the rehearsal process, what astonishing discoveries did you make as the director?
Roy Arauz: One of the things that caught me by surprise was the depth of the work and how much is carried under the words. I knew the play touched me and was significant, yet it wasn’t until I started working the scenes with this astonishingly talented cast and making those discoveries together that the full depth of the words came to light. A lot of rehearsal time was spent talking about situations, intentions, and getting to know the characters and each other. A lot of time was also spent laughing. We laughed a lot.
- Lovebirds Paige (Zandi Carlson) and Peter (Kyle Johnson). Photo Credit: Michael Brunk, NW Lens.
SGS: What is the overall theme or message with ‘The Gene Pool’?
Roy Arauz: To me the play is about how normal and traditional a “non-traditional” family actually is. Here you have a couple that has been together for more than 18 years, dealing with all the issues that come with any long-term relationship. Their son is dealing with typical 18-year old issues, except that the couple is a lesbian couple who had an anonymous sperm donor and now the son wants to know who his dad is. The themes in the show are pretty universal and deal with love and trust. I hope that within the first five minutes people stop seeing them as lesbians and see them as a loving, dynamic couple, period.
The play is also about “coming of age” at different points in your life. Peter is becoming an adult, Mira is figuring out what life will be like after Peter goes away to college, and Claire and Mira’s relationship is growing, loving, forgiving, and they’re finding ways to keep it alive. Paige’s world is expanding and Hal finds himself dealing with decisions of his past head on. We can all learn a lot from these people.
SGS: In three words, describe this play as you would to a non-theater person.
Roy Arauz: Evolving family dynamics.
Tickets are $15 in advance on Brown Paper Tickets or $18 at the front door for general admission. Seniors and people under 25 get a special discount of $12 in advance and $15 at the door. You can also make your reservations via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-298-3852 (Cash and Check only at the door). There will be rush tickets sold five minutes prior to show time depending on availability for $10.