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LITTLE LAMB From Page 19 each other, it doesn’t necessarily make one side more of the “bad guy” than the other. “I would consider all the characters sympathetic characters,” he said. “That is important to me. One of the things that I really want to look at in this play is the role of faith in our society today. I can’t do that without having people of faith on stage and whose voices I support. So everyone in this play is trying to do good in this world.” Whistler also said it was important for him to capture an authentic relationship between Denny and José. “As a playwright, that’s very much my mission statement,” he said. “I want to be able to write the stories of gay men with honor, dignity, humor and humanity. One of the things that I don’t see as a gay

man and as a playwright on stage is a mature relationship between two men. One of the things that I really wanted to create in this was that: two men that have a life together, who know how to deal with each other and are not perfect, but have a relationship that can weather some phenomenal storms. Ames and Frank are just beautiful. They have such warmth for each other and sensitivity, which is what makes a true relationship on stage.” Adamson said that Denny and José definitely live up to Whistler’s vision for realistic gay characters. “With any relationship, there’s not going to be a united front all the time,” he said of Denny and José’s relationship. “We come together, we separate and we have our doubts. There is conflict and that’s a really good thing. It shows a gay couple in a wonderful real light. It’s not all peaches and roses and fabulousity [sic]. There are

JUNE 5 - 11, 2009


warts and bumps and problems. We’re not always in synch. Part of Denny’s problem is that he’s a little overconfident. On one hand, that’s a bad thing. On the other hand, he just says, ‘If I set my mind to it, I can have it. I can do it. It will be.’ That could be a character flaw but, on the other hand, it could be a positive thing to have that kind of attitude.” Adamson added he hopes





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viewers, no matter what side of the issue they fall on, will be able to see them in a positive light. “They’re just a couple of guys who love each other who are being battered down by a system and by ingrained prejudice against the idea of an interracial and gay couple adopting a black child,” Adamson said. “If they shed a tear for Denny and for José, then that’s a good thing. I don’t know if I’ve done my job but it makes me feel good. It’s up to each audience member to determine what the play is about and take away what they want from it.” One effect “Little Lamb” already has had: Some of the performers are thinking about how gay adoption might factor into their own lives. “I’ve thought about it,” Adamson responded when asked if he’d ever consider adopting. “There were a lot of wild similarities between [me and] the character I portray and his partner. I am originally from St. Louis and this character is from Atlanta. So they’re both sort of Southern. The character’s lover is named José and so is mine. It’s kind of freaky, funny and exciting all at once. The problem is that I’m an actor and my income is never steady. I travel a lot, so it makes it really hard to consider that. My partner and I have talked about it. My partner happens to have been


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adopted. He’s Puerto Rican and he was adopted by a Caucasian upper-crusty New Jersey family. He’s always had the sense of wanting to give that back in some way. But right now, with the state of my career, it would be unfair — not to me so much, but to a child.” Whistler wouldn’t say whether he would want to adopt — and had a good reason. “I have a wonderful partner of 20 years and I am not about to answer that and have him read my answer in the paper,” he said. “But I will say that the play has changed my views on it. I know that a lot of doors are open to me and a lot of protections are in place for me that I didn’t know about. I’ve also met a number of wonderful families through this, and that has really changed my view on it.” InterAct Theatre Company presents “Little Lamb” through June 28 at The Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St. InterAct also hosts several post-performance discussions on Sundays featuring invited scholars, community leaders and artists to encourage further discussion. The June 7 performance will feature a postshow discussion featuring Mark Isaksen and Daniel Walth, a couple whose adoption process closely mirrored that of Denny and José. The June 14 performance features Dr. Salman Akhtar, psychiatry professor at Jefferson University. The June 21 performance features Abby Ruder, a marriage and family therapist specializing in adoption information and support services, who advised the playwright during the script development. For more information, visit or call (215) 568-8079. ■ Larry Nichols can be reached at

PGN June 5 - 11, 2009 edition  
PGN June 5 - 11, 2009 edition  

The Philadelphia Gay News covers news and entertainment serving the GLBT community in the greater Philadelphia region and beyond.