As belated redress for the sins of Erich Segal's "Love Story," we now have Albert Innaurato's "Gemini," which is about another Italian-WASP, rich-poor, Harvard-Radcliffe romance. The difference is that his one makes you laugh instead of cry, and also that it's good.
Innaurato has an incredible ear, and his humor is based on recognition, not distance. It is a premise on which each member of the cast at Arena Stage's Kreeger has built an Individual contribution. The result is a marvelous collection of characters such as many television situation comedies try unsuccessfully to provide: people whom one can enjoy endlessly because their individuality transcends their social roles.
They are not, in this play, doing anything in particular. Ideas, irritations, depressions, experiments, philosophical statements - all come and go, and the most that can be concluded at the end is that the young will, after all, have the heart to continue all this as do their elders.
Francis, a scholarship student who is spending his vacation eating, listening to the opera on the radio and worrying about his sexual orientation, is paid an unwelcome visit by his school-year girlfriend, Judith, who is eloquent on the subject of the curse of being beautiful, and her similarly crused younger brother. Francis' relations and neighbors are all brightly hanging out in the yard like the wash, and there isn't anything about the young they don't understand except the language Judith has learned as an Italian major at Radcliffe.
The plot that his play doesn't have is what is most important about it. There is no great struggle between generations, social classes, educational levels or ethnic-backgrounds - these are just factors that influence the way each engages in a kind of straggly human struggle.
The bracket-shaped posture that Mel Shrawder has as Francis, the social smile Deborah Baltzell's Judith manages when she's trapped, the nods of self-approval by Doris Belack, as Francis' father's mistress, the enthusiasm like beer overflowing a pop-top can that Leslie Cass gives to the character of a neighbor, the mouth-pursing thoughtfulness of Joshua Mostel as her son - these touches are more eloquent than any of the conventional manifestos we have come to accept, erroneously, as realism.