Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

In the Navy: Burning Blue Follows a Gay Witch-Hunt among Navy Pilots, but the Story Won't Fly. (Theater Review)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

In the Navy: Burning Blue Follows a Gay Witch-Hunt among Navy Pilots, but the Story Won't Fly. (Theater Review)

Article excerpt

Burning Blue * Written by D.M.W. Greer * Directed by John Hickok * Starring Mike Doyle and Chad Lowe * Samuel Beckett Theatre, New York City (through December 15)

Burning Blue, a play by D.M.W. Greer, takes a Reefer Madness approach to homosexuality. Ostensibly a fictional condemnation of the U.S. military's hypocritical "don't ask, don't tell" approach to gay servicemen, this far-fetched melodrama presents homosexuality as a kind of science-fiction virus transmitted by the heady combination of red lights and disco music.

After a prologue establishing that Dan Lynch (Mike Doyle) and Will Stephenson (Chad Lowe) are second-generation Navy aviators and that the latter suffers from night blindness that severely hampers his piloting abilities, the rest of the play takes place seven years later. Two Navy internal security agents receive an anonymous telephone tip that Dan and another officer named Matt Blackwood (Matthew Del Negro) were seen dancing together at a disco in Hong Kong. They launch a worldwide homo hunt, focusing mostly on Dan, his three galley mates (Will, Matt, and Charlie "Boner" Trumbo), and their wives and girlfriends. Supposedly this matter is required to spare Lynch's high-ranking father embarrassment. And the audience knows there's something mysterious and potent afoot because Matt keeps having spells in which' a red light washes over him and he loses his concentration. Special agent Cokely (P.J. Brown), who lives with his mother and flunked out of flight school, seems to have a special mania for rooting out sexual deviants in the Navy. …

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