As lovely as they sound when combined, the words “young love” can conjure all kinds of complicated feelings. But toss in the word “gay” and you’ve got a whole new situation entirely. In its latest production, Theatre Confetti (formerly Nice People Theatre Company) attempts to do just that by tapping into a budding relationship between two 16-year-old boys growing up in latchkey homes in the ’90s.
A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them concerns three kids who form their own family unit after being abandoned by their parents. Kenny and his 12-year-old sister Edith’s mom just died and their dad leaves them alone for weeks on end. Their friend Benji was tossed out of his home when he told his parents he was gay. In the midst of growing up in a world without adult supervision, the two boys start to develop feelings for one another, taking to a dictionary when they need to find words to describe how they’re feeling. No-nonsense Edith, afraid their unconventional affair will put a target on their backs, decides to become their protector, hence, I’m guessing, the whole “shooting and hitting” thing.
The play stars gay, veteran Philly actors Steve Pacek (Benji) and Justin Jain (Kenny). For the latter, a first-generation Filipino, this marks the first time he’s had the chance to portray someone who’s both homosexual and from the same ethnic background as himself. “I relate to my character 100 percent,” he says. “[The play] very much points to that feeling of being different and being ‘other’ and how you ultimately rise above those things.”
In real life, Jain and Pacek are really good friends. They’ve performed together on stage in the past, but this is the first time they’ve played romantic interests. So, is it awkward to make out and delve into uncomfortable sexual topics with your pal on stage? “Not really,” he laughs. “With both of us being gay actors, it helps the complexity of what’s going on on stage, because we know what it’s like … to surrender yourself to someone of the same sex in a romantic way.”
Edith opens Fri., March 8 and runs through March 24 at the Power Plant Basement at 233 N. Bread St. Tickets are $15-$35 and can be purchased here.
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