SOME ARE PEOPLE is about summer people. Those people who come into our lives for a time and then go back to wherever they came from, leaving us changed forever. Tommy (Alexander Kacala) was a summer person who stayed and grew comfortable with his drag role as Miss Fitt, the chanteuse at the Gay Buoy, a local bar in Provincetown, MA. But when he literally bumps into Lydia (Dani Solomon), not only do they accidentally exchange the possessions that fell out of their purses, they begin to challenge each others’ gender assumptions.
Their initial awkward exchanges make it all the more poignant when friendship turns to attraction and then to distance. “Who do you like – me or Miss Fitt?” Tommy confronts Lydia, hoping she will like Tommy but not altogether sure what that means for him. “Do you want a girl or a man, with me you can have both,” he offers, and later confesses that Lydia was the first girl he ever tongue-kissed.
And that’s what makes this play work. Taking our assumptions about who should be with whom and making the characters question them. Kacala, who in his real drag life performs in Philly as Tammy Faymous, offers us a drag queen who is subtly outrageous. Raised on the larger than life drag queens of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and extravagant shows like La Cage aux Folles or Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, it was nice to see the humanity behind the persona. Miss Fitt is someone you might want to know, even if you’re not part of this world.
As part of GayFest! 2014 all the characters bend their gender roles just a little bit. Lydia, the young mother who has made some bad choices, is attracted to both Tommy/Miss Fitt and Anna his tough lesbian landlord who initially frightens her, while Tommy and Anna have to deal with what this does to their own relationship. The question that confronts them all is whether Lydia is someone they can count on, or just another summer person who’ll leave with the summer sun.
The play by Philadelphia-born playwright Kathleen Warnock grew out of a ten-minute play she had written for a 24-hour festival at Wings Theater in NYC. “Dream,” the song that bookends the show is by Karyn Kuhl, formerly of the band Sexpod, currently of the Karyn Kuhl Band. “I really loved it and found myself listening to it a lot when I was writing SOME ARE PEOPLE, says Warnock. “In fact, its lyrics kind of match the arc of the play.”
The set manages to convey both a sea-side bar and Anna’s run down house with minimal furnishings, and the sound effects of nightclub patrons and the ocean waves enhance the ambiance. The performers create believable human characters, the kind of person who is self-conscious singing in front of an audience. Not everyone is a diva, even though we might like to think we are.
Ultimately, it’s a play about hard working people, each of the characters has three jobs just to make ends meet, who wrestle with how much of a commitment they are really willing to make to each other and their own life choices. They’re human and they’re vulnerable in ways that we all can recognize. [Plays & Players Skinner Studio, 1714 Delancey Place] August 7-23, 2014, quinceproductions.com.