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Jack Sprat Would Eat No Fat, His Wife Would Eat No Lean

October 9, 2008

An experience I had at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center last night reminded me of seeing people file into the his and hers changing rooms at my local swimming pool.

The theatre, which specializes in putting on shows aimed at gay audiences, has two productions running in tandem at the moment: Alan Bennett's play about a group of precocious British schoolboys revving up to take the Oxbridge entrance exams, History Boys, and That's What She Said -- a musical comedy revue starring two Los Angeles-based performers, Amy Turner and Kathryn Lounsbery.

What was striking was walking into the theatre lobby and seeing the playgoers literally sort themselves into two camps along gender lines before my eyes. Pretty much all the female audience members went through a door to the left to see Turner and Lounsbery's "girl-on-girl comedy duet", while most of the people heading through the right hand door to see Bennett's homoerotic-tinged drama were men.

It's good to see a company catering to a wide range of its core audience's predilections simultaneously. But I wonder how many of NCTC's subscriber base would go and see both shows?

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