“He has a story to tell — it is banging around inside him, aching to come out. But how does he begin?”
The opening line of The Inheritance, Part 1 sets the stage for a gay drama unlike any other this century. Its heady, literary beginning frames the story of gay thirtysomethings, Eric and Toby, through the lens of E.M. Forester’s Howard’s End. Two performances and nearly seven hours later, audiences are left with the remnants of a dismantled zeitgeist that explores three generations of queer men grappling with their collective history.
Geffen Playhouse presents the West Coast premiere of Matthew López’s Tony Award-winning work, directed by longtime collaborator Mike Donahue.
“For most of the [characters] in the play, the high of how great we thought the Obama years were, whether we were fooling ourselves or we didn’t understand what was happening in the country, a number of people were caught up in that fever dream, and the play follows the crash out of that,” Donahue told Queerty.
More than a recently time-stamped period piece, The Inheritance reflects some of the responses to issues facing our country today.
“It begins to ask the questions: What happens to us, and who will we become if we lose our sense of community and responsibility to each other? A couple of weeks ago, I stood in line with 400 other gay men in a field in north LA, waiting to get the [monkeypox] vaccine for five hours. In some ways, so much has changed, there is a government response — and that’s not to be underestimated,” Donahue said. “But I think we’re so not beyond what this play is grappling with. And I think that’s ever more present and visceral for us right now. So much of the play is about connection between generations. There’s a grappling with how do younger generations maintain a relationship to the history of our community?”
A watershed tableau at the end of Part 1, famous for its original staging in London and New York City, is likely to be even more impactful in Geffen’s intimate Gil Cates Theater. Queerty obtained exclusive first access to production photos from The Inheritance Part 1 as audiences eagerly await the production’s official opening on October 1.
The Inheritance runs through November 27, with various performance dates for Parts 1 and 2.