WAY LOTS OF SPOILERS. GO SEE THE PLAY FIRST, AT THEATRE NETWORK.
Several years ago, I wrote a review of Stop Kiss. It was kind of lukewarm, and some people kind of got mad at me. I thought it had a bit too much, “Oh my god! We’re lesbians!” kind of vibe to it. Earnest, tortured, ending in a tragedy. I just was hoping for a little more emotional complexity, a little less love-in-a-dangerous-time. Because true love has its real test when things are boring, don’t you think?
Well, A Beautiful View is the play I *wished* Stop Kiss was, at the time. So thank you Daniel MacIvor for fulfilling my critical wishes. Daniel MacIvor is a super-duper genius. I love him. Maybe because times have changed, I don’t know, but his play is a little more forgiving about sexual boundaries, and sees the same-sex relationship as way more fluid and full of possibility– when you don’t know what it is, you can kind of make your own rules. And it’s lovely.
But this cast! Caroline Livingstone (who was also, I believe, in the production of Stop Kiss that I saw) and Davina Stewart are a couple of women who keep bumping into each other. They have a strange attraction, and eventually spend the night together. Later, they find out neither identified as lesbian or bi. Hm. Well. Years pass, and eventually they become friends, maybe sometime lovers. Who knows? They’re inseparable. They do date men, break up, and especially go camping.
I love the tacit love they have for each other, and the surprise they both feel at a sudden “infidelity” committed. In a conventional relationship (straight or gay), there are understandings and rules that can be followed or broken, but since neither woman seems to know what it is that they DO have (friendship? love affair?), they are making things up on the fly. All they know is that they are togehter, in some deep, unintelligible way.
I think it’s really exciting and scary to approach relationships that way: feelings can change (is it friendly or romantic? sexual or nonsexual?) but knowing that there is something under there that holds you there regardless that is more powerful than what we normally think is love or sexuality. Enforced monogamy (through marriage, usually) can really disappoint if we assume that romantic love holds people together. But what if we expected that things were going to develop and evolve? That being “in love” isn’t all that important in the long run?
It’s great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s only part of a great range. Shouldn’t we want to experience them all?