Star-Studded Bill of Playwrights of Standing On Ceremony Tackle Topical Wellspring That Is Gay Marriage

A gay play cycle, married nine times over, with stellar staging and terrific talent attached

A different take on the changing role of parents is examined in Mo Gaffney’s “Traditional Wedding,” with Ms. Draper and Ms. Leavel back at their music stands as another lesbian couple who experience a different kind of surprise. Nothing Kardashian, no wedding planner, no father giving away the bride, says the one who wants originality. Try not to shock the parents, says the one who opts for tradition. The play turns the tables on them both when one girl’s parents don’t bother to show up and the other partner’s 75-year-old ex-Marine father embraces them with pride and tears in his eyes. The point is that the components that make up gay weddings, like the laws that made them legal, always change when you least expect them to.

Things turn dark in Neil LaBute’s “Strange Fruit.” They always do in his plays. This time Mr. Bierko and Mr. Consuelos discuss all the pain of conformity they went through to appear “normal” until gay-marriage legislation finally allowed them to experience the first happiness of their lives—just in time for tragedy to strike. Moises Kaufman’s odd but moving “London Mosquitoes” provides Richard Thomas with a riveting monologue delivered in the form of a eulogy for the man he loved for 46 years. It’s a galvanizing piece that demonstrates how same-sex marriage is living proof that the human race is still evolving, in all the right ways. “On Facebook,” by Doug Wright, features the entire cast as Internet nuts whose opinions clash in an idiotic chaos of social networking. “Call it domestic partnerships, call it civil unions—but keep it out of the church,” rants one conservative. Things turn vicious until one blogger announces his intention to turn the whole thread into a play. Then things get nasty. No wonder Facebook constantly interrupts threads of debate with “Post Deleted.”

Staged minimally by Stuart Ross with the cast seated side by side until their turn at the mikes, then moving between straight chairs and music stands to read, the evening could not look simpler. But simplicity is deceptive. Standing on Ceremony holds a magnifying glass to the highs and lows, joys and fears, courage and silliness, of people bucking trends and making history. It’s a fine evening, heartily recommended.

rreed@observer.com