It’s the Money that Separates “Partners” in Humana Festival Play

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Never before in America, or Kentucky, has there been more talk about acceptance of and prohibitions against all things gay. And when I read the previews for “Partners”, a new Humana Festival play, I figured it might be all about that topic.

Annie Purcell, David Ross, Kasey Mahaffy and LeRoy McClain Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry Part of Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2014 Photo by Bill Brymer
Annie Purcell, David Ross, Kasey Mahaffy and LeRoy McClain
Partners by Dorothy Fortenberry
Part of Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2014
Photo by Bill Brymer

And while I attended this performance on the day of a big new ruling that advances gay rights in Kentucky, and much of the intelligent dialogue focused on gay marriage, I was struck by an old news axiom — it’s always about the money.

The action begins at a dinner party hosted by Paul and Clare, who are married. The guests are Clare’s best friend Ezra and his partner Brady. Ezra is pushing Clare to move forward on their food truck business idea, but Clare is hesitant to the point she is using stalling tactics as Ezra pushes her to do a Kickstarter video. She then shows up late for a meeting with a potential financier.

Clare’s focus seems to be more on Ezra’s relationship with Brady, and she pressures her friend to marry him, since it’s now legal. Ezra and Brady later speculate on the state of Paul and Clare’s finances. Ezra is near-desperate for some income, and believes the food truck is the path to financial freedom, if only they could get the start-up money. He spends some time coming up clever names for the Mexican-theemed business. Clare and Paul have a discussion about their finances, as Paul cautions her about the cost of her acne treatment.

When Clare comes across a windfall, though, she keeps the news to herself, knowing Ezra and Paul would have big plans for an influx of cash. Will the money solve all their issues, or tear the friends apart?

What happens next is a lesson about money and its effect on friendship and marriage.

Partners is one of six new plays in the Festival, which runs through April 6. Check online for details.