An engaging drama about a high school wrestler coming to terms with his sexual identity

"PINS" stands for Person In Need of Supervision -- new counselor lingo for "juvenile delinquent" (which is nothing but old counselor lingo). But Jim Provenzano's new play, PINS, tells the story of an upright high school jock named Joe Nicci who joins the varsity wrestling team. Nicci is not a delinquent. He's just a good young wrestler with gay proclivities. He finds himself popular, admired, and accepted by most of the team. A masculine wrestler named Dink falls in love with him, and after the brutal murder of another gay wrestler (by the team bully), Joe goes through a painful process of self-discovery. He becomes not only a PINS but also a modern St. Sebastian, martyred for being what he is. Provenzano has been a wrestler, a dancer, a novelist, and a sports columnist for the Bay Area Reporter. He adapted this piece from his first novel (PINS) to celebrate the 2002 Gay Games, taking place in November in Sydney, Australia. The play wanders in the second act and seems forced whenever Joe's parents come onstage, but the basic story of a young man finding his talents -- along with his sexual self -- is realistic and engaging. Nick Tagas does especially strong work as the hesitant, rumpled, and endearing young Nicci.

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