Gayby – Funniest Gay Film of the Year
by Larry Murray
Gayby was released on DVD and for streaming by Wolfe Video on December 11, 2012. It is also available as a rental (not streaming) from Netflix. Now everyone can watch it.
Kate Maguire and the Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) can take a lot of pride in the hilarious new film Gayby, opening tomorrow night at Cinema Village in New York. As the artistic director of the BTG she has had a big role in bringing the film’s actors to the attention of Berkshire theatre-goers. Both leads in the film have been part of the Berkshire Theatre Festival, while others recently appeared at the Colonial Theatre in special QWAN workshop performances of SWAN and NOTES. The BTG connections are numerous, including – in the credits – BTG board member “The Countess” Maureen Stanton who is listed as Associate Producer. Two more of the players are veterans of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
The film Gayby is the story of a 30-something deciding to get pregnant by having sex with a gay friend, a great twist on how things usually happen. The film stars Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas as the mother-to-be and the gay friend who is happy to help her become pregnant. No turkey basters here, says Jenn, she wants to conceive the old fashioned way, with Matt providing the real deal. The results are hilarious as test after test proves she is not pregnant yet.
Jonathan Lisecki who wrote the script and directed, plays one of his friends, and Jack Ferver another. The film is filled with delightful and understated humor. Even cameo player Randy Harrison tosses off one of the funniest quips I have ever heard. In Gayby, Harrison plays a waiter and as the scene ends Jenn leaves him $10 for the drinks. “Is this for the Manhattan or the Martini?” he asks dryly.
There is a wonderful scene between Jonathan Lisecki and Mtthew Wilkas that the New York Times used in its pre-opening story. Use this link to see it.
Harrison, of course, is well known to devotees of the Berkshire Theatre Group where he has appeared for the past seven summers in Equus, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Ghosts, and most recently with the QWAN theatre company at the Colonial Theatre where they did two staged readings.Also with the QWAN company were Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas who appeared in Pageant Play at the Berkshire Theatre Festival several years ago. Wilkas wrote that one with Mark Setlock, and it was when Jenn Harris first came to my attention as one of the great comic actors of our times. She went on to play in Silence: The Musical in New York where she has appeared for the past two years. I gave her performance in that show a rave review, noting that “it should play forever.”
Over the summer Randy Harrison joined Harris in Silence: The Musical which was both a coincidence and a boost to box office revenues as the showed moved from the Village to Midtown.
Meanwhile Wilkas now appears on Broadway (and understudies the lead role) in Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, which he has played several times recently.
Wilkas also spent two seasons with the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2001-2, his last role there being Tartaglia in The King’s Stag. Another WTF veteran, Louis Cancelmi, turned heads this summer in The Importance of Being Earnest, also makes a screen appearance in Gayby.
Also appearing with the QWAN company at the Colonial was choreographer/artist Jack Ferver, and Christian Coulson. Over the past few years I have spoken with Randy Harrison and Christian Coulson about their craft, and Coulson made his mark two summers ago starring in Dutch Masters which played at the Unicorn Theatre. Coulson is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Tom Riddle in the Harry Potter series of films.
But looking at the casting for the film, you see the Berkshires written all over it. Gayby will be shown in the Berkshires soon, as part of the Williamstown Film Festival which runs October 17-20. Gayby’s screening is Saturday October 20 at 3pm. Though most of the evening screenings are approaching sell-out, there were tickets still available as of this writing. Jonathan Lisecki will be at the Gayby screening for a post-film discussion. There is an interesting back story here, since Gayby began as a short, played hundreds of festivals and was finally made into a full length feature. It will be released on DVD (in good time) and Wolfe Video has the distribution rights.
Other Gayby Screenings
Cinema Village, New York
Fri. Oct 12 & Sat. Oct. 13:
Director Jonathan Lisecki and select cast in attendance for the 7pm & 9pm screenings.
Laemmle Noho 7, Los Angeles
Castro Theatre, San Francisco
As a member of GALECA (Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association), I received a screener of Gayby this week since Gayby is under consideration for a Dorian Award in 2013. The story is just plain fun. Jenn and Matt are best friends from college who are now in their thirties. Fed up with the New York dating scene and single by choice, Jenn spends her days teaching ‘hot yoga’ and running errands for her boss. Matt, unable to get over his ex-boyfriend, has withdrawn into his comic-bookstore job and has stopped pursuing his dream of being a graphic novelist.
When Jenn proposes that they have a baby together, it seems like the right idea at the right time. With Jenn untrusting of fertility doctors, and Matt boastful of being “a guy” and able to have sex with anyone, they decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together…the old-fashioned way.
Can they navigate the serious and unexpected snags they hit as they attempt to get their careers and dating lives back on track in preparation for parenthood? Gayby is an irreverent comedy about friendship, growing older, sex, loneliness, and the family you chose.
Seeing the many veterans of Berkshire theatre performances on screen is a real treat, and a tribute to their multiple talents as actors. I will be nominating Gayby as the best comedy of the year. No other film has even come close in laughs, creativity or star power.