Little is said about theater and few people go to the theater and almost no one reads theater, so a report paid for with public funds is urgent that says that the theater is going from strength to strength and that we all went this weekend to see a play downtown from the city. The truth is that I don’t like the theater. Javier Marías and I are the bad guys, yes.
But I like to read theater, it is cheaper and less embarrassing, you can leave a book without disturbing the whole line, since there is no one reading it with you. My girlfriend once took me to see a guy who was phoning his father from the stage to tell him that there was hardly anyone in the stalls. He also played the cello for 10 minutes and boxed. What do I know: it was theater. 15 euros the entrance.
Matthew López He has been very successful in the United States with his play ‘La inheritance’ (Two Whiskers), as evidenced by the fact that he premiered it in London. It took two days for the world to contemplate his talent, since the play is so long —314 pages in its Spanish edition — that it took two performances. Then it was released, indeed, in USA, somewhere in New York. The praises that we read in the Spanish version are spectacular, dissuasive. You really shouldn’t pay much attention to them.
‘The inheritance’ reads like a novel, what is to say something good. Also ‘Bohemian lights’ It reads as if nothing else was needed, actors, glamor, footlights. The theater read at home is the theater that is worthwhile for people to whom ephemeral art seems redundant. We are all ephemeral, we will disappear; what better way to do works of art — sculptures, novels, dramas — that go further and talk about us. What better.
‘The inheritance’ will talk about us, without a doubt, no matter how much all its characters are gay and men, except for a lady who appears on page 274. When we say “all the characters” we say 33, no less. Obviously, Matthew López can do a play with 32 men and a single woman without any major problem with parity and sleaze. because they are all gay.
It is a book – let’s leave the “work” on it – excellent, it can be read continuously, it is technically admirable and it works like clockwork. Come on, what that playwright could not do – he was interpreting his own ‘performance’ – who called his father after box and play the cello.
‘The inheritance’ is excellent, it reads continuously, it is technically admirable and it works like clockwork
The inheritance takes as its template ‘Howards End’, the novel by E.M. Forster, who appears as a character (Morgan) in an ambiguous representation of the homosexual suffered from the early twentieth century while being a pioneer and wise guardian. The house, in short, is the important thing. In ‘The Inheritance’ it is about a beautiful house in upstate New York where one of the characters welcomed the agony of no less than 200 men, all affected by the HIV virus. This Samaritan heroism runs throughout the story like the iridescent platinum meter of a better morality.
Matthew López introduces us to a young couple, Eric and Toby, living in New York until Toby’s unexpected success with his first novel forces him to travel to Los Angeles, where it will be adapted into the theater. Toby falls in love with Adam, the leading actor in his own play, and Eric befriends old Walter, whose partner, Henry, is a millionaire (he earns $ 250 million a year, he’ll confess). Eric and Toby break up and the first one ends up marrying Henry, after the death of Walter (the architect of the care for men with AIDS mentioned above), while Toby gets lost in drugs and sex, mostly with a hustler named Leo.
All of them are accompanied by a long list of characters and metacharacters that give the book an extraordinarily dynamic choral quality. In fact, several young people create this story, under Morgan’s advice, and even Eric or Toby themselves detach themselves from their character at times to tell us, in the third person, what they did or thought, even what they did. they would like to have said and did not say. This sounds a bit confusing, but it’s fascinating to read..
The striking thing about reading 314 undeniably gay pages is what they have of undeniably masculine. Adam and Leo, who are very similar physically, drive everyone crazy precisely because they are favored ephebes, extremely handsome. So Toby or Henry or any of the others openly say they want to “fuck” him, get “fucked” or someone “fucked” them. The simple and sick desire for beauty is here very similar to that of, I don’t know, Fernando Extended by the swedes or Michael Douglas for Sharon Stone in ‘Basic Instinct’. Then there are a couple of very dirty scenes that are recreated in the sexual act with all the obscenity that the case allows. What I mean by all this, logically, is that if we changed some characters in this work for very attractive young women, without touching a comma of the text or a body cast, it would seem to all of us a bit adolescent, like dream sex and gas station obsession.
I was amused, for being provocative, the idea that Eric immediately expresses, with these words: “Do you know what I miss? I miss the feeling that be gay it was something like belonging to a secret club ”. And he adds: “It was a secret culture with a secret language and secret and shared experiences.” And another character finishes off: “Being gay is no longer special. It’s like: ah, are you gay? Hum, what else can you do? This means – and I’m not sure Matthew Lopez knows it – that privacy is important. Maybe some people have no need for you to know that they are gay. It is striking what happens today that if someone is gay and has not shouted it from the rooftops it seems that they are doing something wrong. No, you are not doing anything wrong.
The gay question, in short, is the important thing in ‘The inheritance’. On the one hand, the memory of all those men (López insists on “men”) who died of AIDS most likely – it is said – because of society’s neglect to find remedies for the disease first. There is a very brilliant scene where a gay man explains to a young man what was it like to see all your friends die. On the other, what to do being gay today when normalization is so widespread that the struggle has lost intensity and hardly appears in the newspapers (I remember that in the 90s all the newspapers had a gay columnist on duty). Here returns the reason for the house and the use of that house to, finally, create a kind of new gay solidarity, curiously materialistic: for the poor, the marginalized, the lonely and the sick.
The book (the play) is so well done that you forgive how traditional it is to see some characters go crazy about money, the luxury, the mansions and I don’t know what shit in New York in the fall. Getting married, oh, is the greatest aspiration of some of these homosexuals; and have children. And upload it all to Instagram. The kitsch with which they talk about ‘love’ is also amazing.
There are some videos on YouTube with scenes from the performance, and it’s striking to see them after reading the book, mostly because I think the book holds up remarkably well on its own. For a dog, you are a lousy horse, Gardfield tells Odie in an episode of this cartoon series. For a play, however, ‘The Inheritance’ is a terrific novel.