Arts and Entertainment

JOKER'S PEACE | ‘Six Sour Raspberries’ also ripening in Bremerton

Changing Scene Northwest debuts another Scott Gibson work, pushing the envelope by opening the closet.

Hoping to create the most awkward situation possible, I took my mom to the Changing Scene’s premiere of “Six Sour Raspberries.”

The show — a world premiere from Denver, Colo. playwright Scott Gibson — is unabashedly queer. It’s centered around the antics of four gay and lesbian friends, emotionally adrift in the wild world of relationships.

I’d hoped my notably conservative mom could lend the old-fashioned yin to my liberal yang, and best case scenario, cause some sort of scene by either walking out midway or bellowing some sort of uncomfortable groans that would surely resonate throughout the Changing Scene’s intimate little black box. But after an unexpectedly tame two-and-a-half hours, her only objection was, “I could’ve done without the kiss.”

Pavlina Morris, Changing Scene’s artistic director, co-director of “Six Sour Raspberries” and one-fourth of the cast, playing the part of Callie, said of the play, “It’s just been one big question mark. We haven’t really known what to expect.”

She suspects they had a few walk-outs during opening weekend, but even those went quietly. I noticed a gray-haired group getting into their car at intermission on opening night, not sure whether they were leaving out of distaste or because they didn’t know they play was only half over. Maybe it was just getting late.

For the most part, audience feedback from opening weekend was markedly positive, Morris added, which wasn’t all that unexpected. But due to the play’s gay/lesbian nature, the little East Bremerton theater company had been bracing for some sort of push back from the conservative community. Simply producing a show of that nature amidst the dwindling, downright grim climate for performing arts organizations at the moment, proves the Changing Scene’s cojones.

But at its core, Gibson’s “Raspberries” isn’t really all that controversial — it’s more of a universal look at the world of relationships.

At one point in the play, Lori (Kim Hart), the seemingly uninterested object of Callie’s affection, asks, “I wonder if it’s different for heteros,” as she and Callie try to work through the awkwardness of denied advances.

Through Gibson’s eyes, there isn’t much difference in relationships, whether gay or straight. The play’s four characters — Callie, Lori, Rob (Darren Hembd) and Duv (Steve Goupil) — aren’t overly eccentric or dysfunctional, they’re perfectly plain, level-headed people.

With a few tweaks to the script, they all could’ve been straight, and the show would have raised the same points on the quagmire of relationships: the risk, the reward, the awkwardness, the absolution, the insecurity, the contradiction.

“I think heaven must be a complete lack of self-awareness,” Callie says to open the play. “As long as your aware of your self, even when you’re enjoying something you’re always going to be thinking about something else ... think about relationships, we’re all just trying to live up to expectations.”

THE CHANGING SCENE presents “Six Sour Raspberries” now through Sept. 5, with curtains at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays, 5889 State Highway 303 in Bremerton. Tickets are $10. Info: www.changingscenenorthwest.org, (360) 792-8601.

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