The Wrong Sex

Playwright: Sonja Mills
Cast: Sonny Mills, with special non-appearance by Elley-Ray Hennessy

Review by: John Bandler

This truly captivating one-person show is funny, sad, gentle, playful, ironic, illuminating of a burning social issue, and so much more. I found myself hanging onto every word as the protagonist addresses an imagined counselor/audience, presenting himself and his side of the story as well as his partner’s, a costumed, endearingly lifelike broom called Anna.

The light-hearted side of the play is set early. “It was fun driving in the HOV lane, right?” says our protagonist to Anna and snaps a picture of the two of them side by side. Soon, again to Anna, who is (obviously) mute, “We have an issue. It’s a man-woman thing.”

The seriousness of the issue rises slowly but inexorably. “We’re a couple. We want to fit in.” Then through flashbacks and vignettes, the dark side appears: the fear, the hatred, the homophobia. “Gay men are like women, only worse.”

The protagonist tells us that he wants what every upwardly mobile professional wants: a stable, happy relationship, with “stuff” (a home, possessions, etc.).

Humor and pathos intertwine as the story addresses its underlying theme, that society expects any two-person love relationship to adhere to a classic heterosexual model or “paradigm.” Who is the man? Who is the woman? Who is on top? Who is below? Are you a broom or a mop?

Society insists on classification. It presses for gender-specificity. It does not tolerate ambiguity.

Eventually, the distinction between the protagonist and his partner blur. In desperation, they swap roles, each in turn exploring a mantle of maleness and femininity, addressing, examining, rejecting, and resurrecting societal clichés and stereotypes

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