About a decade ago, John Fisher reopened an old case, theatrically speaking. He wrote, directed, and acted in Combat!, a play about two gay U.S. Marines in World War II who survived the invasions of Tarawa and Iwo Jima and were then prosecuted for their sexual orientation. The memorable parts for us were less in the politics and much more in the details. How did queer people get by within such an oppressive system? How did they recognize each other? How did they develop relationships? How did they cope? One way was certainly humor, which Fisher applies liberally to his characters. Fisher, executive director of Theatre Rhinoceros, revisits these themes in Fighting Mac! (He does love the exclamation point.) Like Combat!, this play is based on real events, namely ones involving Hector MacDonald, an English general who fought in Afghanistan and parts of Africa in the 1890s and was also gay. Macs story is juxtaposed with that of a young gay American soldier named Jesse, who fights in Afghanistan in 2011. Mac finds a way to thrive in an era of overt oppression, while Jesse finds that unexpected difficulties remain even as Dont Ask, Dont Tell is repealed. A surprising angle, but wed expect nothing less from Fisher.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: June 2. Continues through June 19, 2011