Bent at the Taper

Gordon and I went to Bent at the Taper last night. Bent is about gay men being targeted by the Nazis and thrown into Dachau. Not exactly the ‘feel good’ play of the year but moving. And informative. I didn’t know that Ernst Rohm, the openly gay leader of the Brownshirts and strong ally of Hitler, was killed because he was a political rival not because of his homosexuality. But the Nazis used it as an excuse to round of all homosexuals and put them in concentration camps. Anyway, the play opens with one of a homosexual couple bringing home the boyfriend of Rohm for a night of sexuality–you can’t call it making love because, as the play points out, love has nothing to do with these interactions. It’s just sex, sex, sex. The dancer member of the pair, Rudi,points out that Max, the lead, says he brings these guys home for a threesome but Rudi always get left out. Their argument is humorous with the Rohm boyfriend making his appearance stark naked. The actor was a good lookin’ young fella with an enormous shlong. I whispered to Gordon that I wondered if the casting breakdown included “beautiful body, big dick”. Gordon whispered back that it looked like a prosthesis. Maybe it was. Then I wondered if they had a makeup artist to glue the thing on. And what would you glue it with; spirit gum on a penis? How do you take it off? Even I had to wince at that. Anyway, all my ruminating about penises stopped when the Nazis broke in during the Night of the Long Knives. The humor stopped. They cut the throat of the Rohm boyfriend and arrested Max and Rudi. On the train to Dachau, Max saves his life by killing Rudi (on Nazi orders) and violating the corpse of a 13-year-old girl (also on Nazi orders) to prove he isn’t a ‘fluff’–that’s the first I’ve heard that term for a homosexual. The second act shows Max and Horst moving rocks in Dachau. Max is wearing the yellow star of Judaism–even though he’s not Jewish–and Horst wears the pink triangle of a ‘fluff’. Their relationship moves from simple companionship to love even though they’re not allowed to touch each other. I won’t give anymore away. According to the notes it’s a discussion of the transition of homosexual relationships from mere physical connections to love between two men, mirroring what happened in New York in the ’70s. It was very moving and I shed a few tears. It’s not a date-night play but the performances and staging were excellent. It got a standing ovation although that doesn’t mean much in LA. A show gets a standing ovation in LA if the actors don’t fall off the stage. I can’t say I liked it, too violent to ‘like’ it, but it’s worth seeing.

Oh, and we stopped for our usual soup and glass of wine at Kendell’s before the show. One of the actors was having his dinner at the bar, too. I found that out as we were chatting. Good lookin’ young fella. He played the lead singer in the transvestite show. Had a lovely voice. It’s always fun when stuff like that happens.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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