Great play. Easy to read. Funny. Clever. Smart. My favorite characters are Boom Boom and Ceil, the drag queens. I think what I liked about the play so much was the gutter, underground knowledge about getting propositioned on the street, what it’s like to cruise out in public when it’s essentially illegal to be gay, and how the cops try to blend in with everything.
The plot of Street Theater leads into the first night of the Stonewall Riots. So you know it’s coming, and one of the cops warns the bar owner that the raid is coming later, and he’s inviting people to come drink early in the night knowing it’ll get shut down late. But the entirety of the play happens out on the street down a little. All the characters pass by, stop and talk, and use off-stage to do their dirty work. That was my focus in my graduate work actually–looking at how off-stage (and slightly off-stage) gets sexualized. And here, in line with that, practically all the action takes place off-stage.
So what you do see is a meeting of the minds. Not in the heat of the moment but in the off-moment, all leading up to what will be a three-day rebellion (which Doric Wilson was involved in in real life). The play ends at the start of the raid with everyone finally banding and standing together. In that way, Street Theater also does something cool with the concept of “in media res.” A lot of plays start there–in the middle of things–but this story starts hours before the actual event. This is, instead, about all the tension that made the riots happen like that.