By Tom Blumberg
The relationship between John and Chris in 2023 is very unique in terms of the representation of gay couples in the arts and literature. Obviously, like any relationship, they have their ups and downs and these can be seen throughout the play - with the arrival of Mary, making decisions on how to have a child and ultimately the trials of actually being parents and the fractious tempers that come with lack of sleep!
For me, it’s uncommon to see plays with gay characters, about a gay relationship, where the fact that the characters are gay is not the focus of the piece. I think it’s rare to see such a strong, monogamous gay relationship shown on stage and I really think it’s important to treat gay relationships in the arts like any other heterosexual relationship, in that it’s just there, it’s not important that it’s two men, it’s the trials and tribulations of having a child that is the key to the story.
I’ve loved exploring this relationship and these characters, finding their roles within the relationship, and although there are elements of ‘traditional roles’ I think there are also things that work against these stereotypes. For example, John as the artist, stays home, cooks, keeps house a little, effectively plays the good ‘wife’ and yet it's him who is reluctant in the first instance to go ahead with the process of having a child, which you would have thought would have come naturally to this ‘housewife’ type character.
2023 succeeds in turning stereotypes on their head a little, creating a very strong gay relationship which is dynamic, interesting and, while full of twists and turns, is ultimately filled with love and respect. I am so pleased to be able to bring it to life, and think it’s important to see more writing with these kinds of gay relationships, it’s so refreshing! Tom Blumberg plays the role of John in 2023, which you can catch at Chapter Arts Centre 3-13 October. Tickets: chapter.org/2023