By William Wolf

WOULD YOU STILL LOVE ME IF...  Send This Review to a Friend

In this era of more attention to transsexuals playwright John S. Anastasi in his drama “Would You Still Love Me If…” explores the important subject beginning with a lesbian relationship. The cast members and direction are superior to the play, which is undercut by improbabilities even though the basic issue should be takien seriously.

Kathleen Turner, who does an excellent job acting the role of a well-intentioned but meddling mother, also smoothly directs the developments and makes them seem more credible than they are.

At the start we meet long-time committed lesbians Sofia Jean Gomez as Danya, a lawyer, and Rebecca Brooksher as Addison, a writer. They have just had sex and Danya is revealed wearing a strap-on (hint, hint). They have been wanting to adopt a child. First improbability: Addison has arranged it all as a surprise without telling Danya about the progress. Very unlikely.

We soon see Danya going to Roya Shanks as Dr. Gerard, who specializes in transsexual surgery and is very tough in making sure that her patients are really ready for the transformation. She starts by rejecting Danya, who breaks down and confesses that she has felt she was a boy since childhood. That impresses the doc and the operation is a go. Despite the closeness with Addison, she has never even hinted at her inner feelings. This is another bit of a stretch. But it opens the way for the plot device of her mother, Victoria (Turner), planning to give Danya $25,000 for the surgery and informing Addison what is happening. All hell breaks loose, as Addison is understandably offended for not being told personally, as Danya intended to do, and furious with her mother.

Addison is really shaken. She is a lesbian so how could she love Danya, despite their closeness, when Danya will come home with no breasts and a penis. Danya insists their love should make no difference.

Time marches on. The surgery has been completed and we now meet Danya, the man. Gomez does a terrific job, really looking and acting like a guy. But he and Addison have parted. Enter a major contrivance. When Addison went to see the doctor to plead against the surgery, there was a spark between the two. We learn that subsequently, Dr. Gerard, a lesbian, and Addison have become lovers. Shanks by the way also acts effectively, although a bit too stridently, as the doc.

How will it end? By this time the plot carries so much baggage that anything could happen. An abrupt face-off finale invites us to ponder the future. At the New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street. Reviewed October 13, 2015.


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