A review by Rachel Flanagan.
Welcome to yourForever House¸the perfect vintage craftsman with childhood memories, a neighborhood watch, a chance to make it your own and a commitment to something other than yourself. Jack (Michael Rubenstone) and Ben (James Liebman) are a thirty something gay couple who just closed on the house where Jack was born. Married, successful in their careers and now homeowners; what could go wrong? What could go wrong is the Skylight Theatre Company's production of playwright Tony Abatemarco's world Premier of
Forever House,a comedic spin on the post-equality movement.
James Liebman and Michael Rubenstone.
Photos by Ed Krieger
The stage is set on Day One, their first day in the house. Jack comes home talking to his mother on the phone giving her an audio tour of the house while Ben and Jack play a game of cat and mouse as they keep missing each other through a well-timed series of entrances and exits through the living room of their new home. Jack is sharp and witty, just like his mother Evelyn (Dale Raoul) albeit slightly hysterical as well while Ben is the yin to his yang. Ben is the ideal gay or straight partner with his compassionate and caring nature. His great cooking skills and the fact that he is quite handy around the house would not be a bad guy to have around either. Their straight-laced anti-gay homeowner neighbor Gloria (Elyse Mirto), realtor Bill (Joel Swetow), cops and strange rattling and baby noises coming from the basement that Jack only seems to hear, soon interrupts their day one jitters and remodeling.
Elyse Mirto, Michael Rubenstone, and James Liebman.
Act Two begins one year later with a change of scenery. We are now in Jack and Ben's newly decorated nursery in the basement. Evelyn has this uncanny ability to insult every single detail of the nursery to Jack while still giving compliments on the exact same things to Ben. The evangelists from next door also make an appearance played again by Mirto and Swetow. Oh and those mysterious noises plaguing Jack in Act One? Don't worry, a little Jewish mythology will explain that one.
Elyse Mirto, Joel Swetow, James Liebman, and Michael Rubenstone
Unlike many of Abatemarco's other plays, this is not autobiographical but instead full of personal experience. Many committed couples, gay or straight, want a place to call their own but signing a deed and committing to a 30-year mortgage can be unnerving and bring up all kinds of demons. Forever House unleashes these demons in a clever and entertaining way that is sure to make you laugh. This play is a must-see for anyone who enjoys a good laugh. Do not forget to lock your doors and watch out for the mailbox.
Dale Raoul, Michael Rubenstone, and James Liebman
FOREVER HOUSEis playing at the Skylight Theatre Company Fridays at 8:30 pm, Saturday and 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. 2 hours and 5 minutes including intermission.
1816 ½ N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027