The love between a straight man and a straight woman is what has always been defined as a ‘legal’ marriage in polite society. Alas, what if that same love was shared between a gay man and a straight woman ? A rose by any other name would still smell the same, so why wouldn’t their love have the same bearing as any other couples, regardless of sexual orientation ? “Bordering on Love,” the newest production at the Company of Angels deals with that very question, when that line between what is love and what is love as defined by the federal government cross each other. Playwright Evangelina Ordaz and director Armando Molina question the governments policy to only define marriage when it applies to couples who are immigrants and/or gay, “exploring the futility of attempting to regulate human need or emotion” says Ordaz.
Set in Atlanta Georgia, Antoinette , played by TJ O’Connell, is an up an coming drag queen who dreams of becoming Miss Gay USA. Yet, the lack of confidence in himself comes through on stage, holding him back as a performer and as an individual. Marilu, played by Silvia Tovar, a Mexican immigrant with dreams of becoming a make up artist, cleaning houses by day and going to beauty school at night. The only thing holding her back is an apprehensive boyfriend and no legal status in the US. Like a humming bird drawn to a sweet flower, Marilu and Antoinette’s working relationship blossoms into a beautiful relationship that has them competing in the Miss Gay USA Pageant. Yet, their dreams come crashing down when Marilu is arrested and placed in deportation proceedings, jeopardizing not only their shot at Miss Gay USA, but the new found friendship and life both have established together.
The shows energy, humor and story match up perfectly with an in your face “Sex in the City” attitude mixed in with some“To Wong Foo: Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar” and “Under the Same Moon.” Ordaz’ curvaceous writing and balancing of the intersections between the queer and immigrant communities display a respect and understanding that is sorely missing at times in productions like this. there are several scenes in which Marilu is coming to terms with her lack of status and Antoinette coming to terms with himself and his lifestyle choices. The lines between discrimination of legal status and life style choice become one in the same and impose the question on the audience of what one is willing to risk and endure in order to achieve their dreams in this day and age.
The supporting cast of drag queens gracefully dance on stage in heels, tight dresses and heavy make up, providing the kind of comedy relief that helps the story progress, even at the most intense and serious moments. Molina’s directing makes use of the COA’s limited space to it’s full advantage going from back stage dressing room to pageant run way in a matter of seconds. With subtle jokes and references to the queer and immigrant culture, the quick witted humor found through the entire play will keep anyone on their toes.
The play runs through July 2nd, with performances every weekend starting at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights and at 7 p.m. on Sunday nights, which is also union night and members get $5 off regular entrance. General tickets are $20, $12 for students with I.D. and $15 for seniors with I.D. and discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased the day of or online at company of angels. Company of Angels at The Alexandria is located at 501 S. Spring Street, 3rd Floor LA 90013