“The Gulf” / Publicity photo by Sydney Lee.

Out Front’s ‘The Gulf’ Charts Lesbian Relationship, SCAD TVfest Hosts Gay Icons

Successfully staged other places around the country, Audrey Cefaly’s work, “The Gulf” debuts in Georgia next week via Out Front Theatre Company. It’s a drama with three-dimensional female characters, says director K. Parker.

“The Gulf,” set in 2016, takes place one evening in the Alabama Delta, as couple Betty (Jamie Goss) and Kendra (Daryl Lisa Fazio) are searching for redfish. What starts off as a routine night takes a darker twist.

The two have been together for six years and Betty is starting to want more from her life.

“She wants to go to college and be a social worker,” Parker said. “She wants more from herself than her mundane day-to-day of being a bartender. Kendra is completely fine where she is; she loves the comfort that her surroundings have brought her. There is a little bit of tension as the two find out they are not as compatible as they thought. As we are riding the waters of the Delta, we are riding the waters of their emotional relationship. There is an ebb and flow.”

Over the course of the show, the women become vulnerable with each other in a way they have never been before. Through conversation, they are able to see each other in a different light and make revelations.

“What we see unfold is the messy fallout of their own personal traumas and their own personal attachment wounding,” Parker said. “They are hurting themselves and each other at a certain point.”

What Parker finds particularly beautiful about what Cefaly does with the play is show how these women love, hurt, and yearn.

“Audrey talks about the ache these women have — what they ache for and the ache they have for each other,” she said. “There’s a lot of intersectionality; people who are not members of LGBTQIA community can see a lot of themselves in the relationship.”

Parker has always been passionate about queer stories, especially because there aren’t that many of them.

“The stories we do see don’t allow the depth and nuance of queer relationships. This play spoke specifically to me — I am a queer woman,” she said. “I do love women. I was intrigued by seeing this relationship that reminded me of some of the relationships I have been in. I have never experienced a play that really gave an authentic ‘fly on the wall’ perspective of what a lesbian relationship looks like. Of course, you can’t say this is what [all] lesbian relationships are, but there are a lot of components that are relatable.”

SCAD TVfest’s recent four-day event showcased much current and upcoming television fare, as well as a slew of out performers. Matt Bomer was in town to accept the Hollywood Reporter Trailblazer Award for his work in the series, “Fellow Travelers.”

The actor liked the fact that the project had so many out cast and crew members, including co-star Jonathan Bailey.

“I am not one to prescribe who should play what, but I will say it lent such an ease in terms of talking about the relationships, understanding the relationships and how the characters behave around each other, as well the intimacy scenes,” Bomer said. “It lent comfortability to the entire project and a shorthand.”

He feels lucky to be in an era where so much LGBTQ content is available.

“I think we are blessed that we have all these streamers,” he said. “It’s almost like the more personalized your narrative is now, the more universal it will be and audiences will find it. People who have a hunger for this story will find it. It’s been advantageous — people who have been marginalized now have a platform to tell our stories.”

Joel Kim Booster, who received the Rising Star award for his work in the series, “Loot,” also feels blessed to be around in this era.

“We are seeing so many successful gay actors out there playing a variety of roles and getting to do a lot of things,” he said. “For me personally, the biggest change is the solidarity amongst us. For a long time, especially in comedy, the idea was that there could only be one of us and that one of us was going to be me. I feel lucky to be in a place now where we are all supporting each other and rejecting that only one can be successful. That is changing the way gay audiences engage in gay work. For so long, we got one gay movie or show, and we are seeing more. There is not just one depiction of our community anymore.”

Also visiting was director Alan Poul, who directs the second season opener of “Tokyo Vice.” He has been responsible for acclaimed LGBTQ fare such as “Tales of the City,” “Six Feet Under” and “My So-Called Life.”

“Very early in the ’90s, I felt as I was coming up as a producer there was a responsibility to create not just more portrayals of LGBTQ folks but more complex portrayals,” Poul said. “Because we already had ‘Will and Grace’ and it was a period where we were overcorrecting for decades of negative representation, on ‘Tales of the City’ and ‘Six Feet Under’ we were trying to present characters who were as complicated and fully rounded and morally complex as straight characters.”

“The Gulf” runs from March 14–30 at Out Front Theatre Company.