Whether you identify within the LGBTQ+ spectrum or not, The Gay Heritage Project will speak to anyone’s sense of what it means to create a sense of belonging.
Actors Paul Dunn, Andrew Kushnir, and Damien Atkins have embarked on a nationwide tour with their production, and it has already received critical acclaim. With just the three of them on stage at all times — playing over 50 characters collectively — they use their personal and cultural histories as jumping points to connect with important (supposedly) queer historical figures, to answer the question: is there such thing as gay heritage?
An imaginative, intelligent, and funny production, The Gay Heritage Project presents discovered anecdotes — through research done by the three actors — from ancient Greece to the AIDS epidemic of the ’80s, and puts them in dialogue with one another. What results is a witty creation of a near-succinct narrative of how LGBTQ+ individuals have been represented throughout history, and how it affects contemporary culture.
It is a brave endeavour that Dunn, Kushnir, and Atkins have set out on. They have asked a truly important question, and explored ways to answer it without being exclusive to any community. And when moments of questioning did arise, it was nice to see that they addressed it themselves. After all, these are three gay, white, male actors attempting to represent a diverse group of people. However, moments like these added comic relief.
What will really blow you away is the actors’ versatility. Every time one of them took centre stage, they simultaneously played multiple characters. This made it impossible for you to get lost about who was who. Whether it is Dunn’s portrayals of an imprisoned gay man speaking with a researcher from the present; Kushnir’s re-enactment of his younger self looking up “gay + Ukraine” in the library, interacting with a very humorous search engine program; or Atkins re-interpretation of Dorothy finding out the Wizard of Oz is the one and only Michel Foucault, the play definitely entertains.
The Gay Heritage Project dives into some deep questions around creating a sense of belonging. It is definitely something worth seeing. You will be moved again and again each time someone takes the stage.
Get your tickets soon, because it’s only in Vancouver at The Cultch Historic Theatre until March 19.