Gay Mis: A Revolution for the Random
by Whitney Weinstein
“This play makes no sense. The plot lines are all over the place…like my gender.” If you don’t know about Eric Jaffe, creator and Narrator of Gay Mis, you need to do some research. He mashes musical theatre with cultural references and lighthearted stereotypes into hilarious masterpieces that simultaneously advocate for acceptance, especially in the LGBTQ community.
He was right; I was confused, albeit delightfully, for the majority of the show. The first backdrop was a beautifully painted scene from The Sound of Music. The performers bobbed and fanned their arms in an opening number to the tune of “Comedy Tonight.” Characters were renamed to reflect charcuterie: Baguette replaced Cosette (yes, like the bread). Fontina, who worked at Wawa and sold her hair for ten franks (hot dogs, not currency), died an excruciatingly drawn-out death from chlamydia. The ensemble marched in time to “Do you hear my cell phone ring?” Les Misérables’ empowering lyrics were swapped out for cheeky puns and double entendres. I loved it.
Regardless of its corniness and nonsensical tendencies, every stitch, note, and glance seemed meticulously planned, executed with professionalism and intention. Having seen Jaffe perform before, I secretly anticipated the other performers falling short of his epically booming voice. Jaffe is a musical beast of sparkle and magic, with more expression in a single false eyelash than entire casts of major productions. To my astonishment, everyone in Gay Mis was Broadway-worthy.
Jaffe interjected commentary throughout the show, layering comedy with criticism. Fontina sang, “There was a time when men were kind.” Without missing a beat, Jaffe exclaimed, “Wait, there was?” I laughed, then the weight of his words hit me.
Initiated by a text message, the Dance Dance Revolution of Gay Mis commenced. The ensemble gathered with an assortment of flags. I saw a rainbow of waving colors and skin tones, a spectrum of relationships and gender-bending outfits, a span of age and size. As I looked around the room, we were all swaying in the same direction. Later it was revealed that the combat-inflicting text was misread and, ultimately, the Revolution was deemed pointless. Yet the feeling of moving in unison with those around me remained as I returned to a world that often feels as confusing as the parody realm of Gay Mis.
By Whitney Weinstein
September 10, 2019