Almost exactly a year after the Supreme Court guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry, the Jungle Theater is telling a slightly different version of the historic change. Le Switch is the story of David (Kasey Mahaffy), a gay man living in New York, who roots his identity in staying as far away from “normal” as possible. This translates to hundreds of unopened books and a firm stance against marriage, even after he finds the “perfect” guy.
This isn’t some ideal, fantasized story of redemption, however. Instead we get to hear his tale with a sense of familiarity. His aversion to moving too quickly isn’t petty or annoying; it’s realistic. His relationships—with his twin sister, his best friend, his pseudo-dad/roommate, his boyfriend—aren’t forced; they’re relatable and endearing. And his moments of panic aren’t over the top, like in a lot of plays; they’re emotional and grabbing. The humor, the heartbreak, and the hope were never lost on the audience.
The theme of change extends far beyond the play, into the Jungle Theater itself. It’s also been about a year since the Jungle appointed Sarah Rasmussen as artistic director, and she’s already leaving an imprint on the Minneapolis theater scene. This season, her first full season with the Jungle, featured something unusual— an all-female production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which she also directed. In an industry largely devoid of women, she is quickly broadening the Jungle’s horizons, bringing in more diverse stories, characters, and actors. What will remain unchanged at the Jungle Theater, however, is the legacy of the intimate neighborhood theater. (And special thanks to Patrick Bailey for another wonderful rendition of “Islands in the Stream,” and a nod to arguably his best scene in The Night Alive.)
Le Switch runs June 17-July 31 at the Jungle Theater.