In this special bonus episode of Outward, Bryan and a guest panel of multigenerational gay men devote a whole hour to The Inheritance, a seven-hour, two-part play by Matthew Lopez that won many awards for its recent run in London and is currently dominating discussions on Broadway. There will be spoilers!
While it’s length, ambition, and engagement with the AIDS crisis have invited comparisons to Tony Kushner’s “gay fantasia on national themes” Angels in America, The Inheritance’s driving concern is a bit more personal: If gay men think of ourselves as a community spanning generations, what happens when a huge swath of that community is lost to plague, the survivors deeply traumatized, and younger cohorts must therefore come of age and figure out what it means to be gay in the wake of a tragedy that shapes everything around us? Borrowing a line from E.M. Forester’s Howard’s End, on which the play is based, The Inheritance desperately wants gay men to “connect” across age and loss — but is that kind of connection really possible?
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