T-Shirts -- At the Broadway Cabaret (formerly Waaay Off Broadway), 55 K Street SE, through July 27.
Robert Patrick's "T-Shirts" is a clever, biting one-act play about life and love and homosexuality. This is no grin-and-giggle comedy about mindless gay sex machines who hop into bed at the drop of a hankie. And neither is it a heterosexual homily about monogamy or fidelity.
Three gay men with differing perspectives are drinking and talking one rainy autumn evening in a Greenwich Village walk-up. Marvin is a homely, middle-aged playwright whose minor works have been well received. He shares his apartment with Kink, a bronzed and handsome 35-year-old upholsterer. They've been joined by Tom, the 20-year-old friend of a neighbor who's come in to wait out the rain.
Loosened up by a few hits of whiskey, Marvin bitterly explains to Tom that fame is fine but it won't be the answer to his prayers: "In spite of what you heard, being successful doesn't make a person attractive."
Tom, naively: "If you've got looks, you don't need anything else."
Kink, symbolically changing one sexy T-shirt for another: "Gay life is okay if you're pretty, rich -- or inhuman."
While "T-Shirts" is a decidedly gay play, the question it raises knows no sexual preference: Have we all lost our feelings of love and affection in an unending search for youth and beauty?
Jack Wrangler (Kink) and Dale Merchant (Tom) created their roles during the original New York run and handle their parts with both wit and assurance. tBut it is Don Vafiades as the punning, funning Marvin who makes it work; a Washington actor hired just a week ago, Vafiades is splendid.