Chances are, if you're reading this, you're not in the closet. At least I hope not. It's dark and cramped in there and the secrets smell like old socks left in the back corner.
But it's one thing to know that life is better without secrets and quite another thing to actually figure out when and how to let go of them. That's where a guy like Howard Bragman comes in — he's a publicist in LA who helps celebrities come out. I traded emails with him a couple years back when basketball player John Amaechi made the brave decision to go public about being gay and Bragman made the process easy for everyone concerned.
For those not famous enough to need a PR guy or rich enough to afford one, however, we have True Love Lies, the new play from Edmonton-born Brad Fraser in which the sexual secrets of an entire family come spilling out in hilarious and poignant ways:
Debuting in the UK last year, now running in Toronto until Nov. 1 and hopefully being restaged elsewhere after that, this loose sequel to Fraser's classic Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love begins as a zippy post-nuclear-family sitcom before growing into something far stranger and sadder as the characters (beautifully played by the terrific ensemble) each wrestle with not only what secrets they're hiding from each other but also what secrets they're hiding from themselves.
We don't look at a lot of theatre here on the Roundup (preferring to leave
that to the mighty Rob Salerno) but seeing this play after reading the big writeup on Bragman and his efforts to free Hollywood types
from their own prisons only made its themes stand out even more — the truth shall set you free…sort of.
We tend to believe that whether that truth is something unpleasant (like learning that the potential HIV vaccine is a dud) or something controversial (listen for the sound of shrieking girls as Esquire magazine insists that the Twilight vampires are gay) or something awkward (the British tabloids going to town on further details on the death of out singer Stephen Gately), one must reveal all, but one of the most provocative things about True Love Lies is right there in the title — for the sake of those we love, some secrets are better kept.
Sex advice columnist Dan Savage riffed on this notion a while back and, just for kicks, I'm reprinting it here today because it's so valuable. Savage is one of the gay community's great truth-tellers so it's weird to hear him argue on behalf of illusion:
Ultimately, all these men are asking the big questions: who do we lie to, when do we tell the truth and how do we know the difference?