Theater Review: AUNT JACK (New Conservatory Theatre Center)

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by Chuck Louden on October 17, 2022

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area


PANSEXUAL: relating to having, or open to sexual activity of many kinds.
POLYAMOROUS: the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner with the consent of all partners involved.
FLUIDITY: the quality of not being solid and able to flow.

 Joseph Alvarado, Nick Trengove, and Jennifer McGeorge
Joseph Alvarado and Jim Rupp

Playwright Nora Brigid Monahan’s play Aunt Jack debuted off Broadway in the East Village of NYC in 2019. Making its West Coast debut at NCTC, Aunt Jack is an intergenerational layered farcical gender identity rom-com that contrasts the older gay generation’s values with millenials’ pansexuality, openness & gender fluidity. It’s a gay identity debate within the queer community that has a broad range of gay relationships. With a boatload of ribald humor, this is a relevant, creative, quirky, and clever play. The familiar clichés are mixed with very current, thought-provoking issues in a very satisfactory way.

Jim Rupp, Ryan Marchand, and Nick Trengove
Ryan Marchand, Joseph Alvarado, Jim Rupp, and Nick Trengove

Young out and proud Gen Z’er Norman Sabler Church (Nick Trengrove) rushes from San Francisco to his family home back east to visit his ailing father George (Jim Rupp), a Baby Boomer who is also gay, and who was an outspoken political activist back in the era of AIDS in the 1980s. Norman’s “other” father, Jack (Joseph Alvarado) is a drag performer. To complete the gay family, Phyllis (Jennifer McGeorge) is a very New York Jewish mother and also a lesbian. The unexpected plot twist comes with Norman bringing home his new partner Andy (Emily Steelhammer), but everything is NOT as it seems.

Jim Rupp and Nick Trengove
Nick Trengove and Ryan Marchand

Added to this dysfunctional family is Ian (Ryan Marchand), Norman’s former boyfriend who is still carrying a torch for him and seems to have his own secret with Andy. Directed by Jeffrey Hoffman, this delightful show is for everyone, but especially the the new P.C. pronoun-owning genderfluid society that is very much our reality in 2022. With pop culture references thrown in — which not all generations will get — and terrific performances from the ensemble cast, the show provides lots of laughs as family dynamics are twisted in all directions —  the perfect play to kick off New Conservatory Theatre’s post-COVID reemergence.

Nick Trengove and Emily SteelhammerJennifer McGeorge, Joseph Alvarado, Nick Trengove, Ryan Marchand, and Emily Steelhammer

photos by Lois Tema

Aunt Jack
New Conservatory Theatre Center
25 Van Ness Ave @ Market
ends on October 16, 2022
for tickets, call 415.861.8972 or visit NCTC

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