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Boys Don't Wear Lipstick.

Brian Belovitch's one-man show reveals the face behind the makeup mask

* Written and performed by Brian Belovitch * Directed by Keith Greer * Players Theatre, New York City (runs indefinitely)

For many gay men, accepting their sexual orientation can be a difficult experience. For Brian Belovitch, it included becoming a woman. In his new off-Broadway solo show, Boys Don't Wear Lipstick (at the Players Theatre in Greenwich Village), Belovitch recounts his unusual journey to manhood by retracing the defining moments of his life--primarily those pertaining to the creation of a persona named Tish.

Early in the evening the writer-performer says, "Imagine not knowing what you really are." With that left dangling in the air, Belovitch quickly begins tucking, taping, implanting, and hormoning as he reenacts the audacious rise and ultimate fall of Tish. Through a series of flashback monologues, Belovitch takes us along on his ride from '60s sissy boy to '70s sassy Army bride to coke-snorting '80s showgirl. What makes Boys so compelling is Belovitch's edge of authenticity: You never forget that this is his real life story. Set against a projected collage of pictures culled from Belovitch's family photo album (beautifully arranged by multimedia designer Elaine J. McCarthy), Boys becomes a soul-searching memory play bent on recovering the little boy who discovered a cylinder of lipstick among his mother's things, smeared it on his mouth, and found that behind a mask of cosmetics there was a way of coping with being gay--or at least hiding it. But like all masks, this one inevitably cracks.

As the play explains, bottoming out on drugs and getting sober may have assisted in Belovitch's final confrontation with the reality of his body and the truth of his sexual orientation, but there is something else at work here. I suspect it dwells in the spiritual realm. It occurs in Boys' final moments, as Belovitch stands before the audience nude--in his own masculine skin, breast implants surgically removed--and steps into a shower. As he begins to bathe his body, a wave of transcendent joy suddenly leaps through the theater as the boy whom Belovitch has been hiding all along is finally reborn.

For more information about Boys Don't Wear Lipstick, go to www.advocate.com

Drake is the writer-performer of the play and feature film The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Drake, David
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Theater Review
Date:Nov 21, 2000
Words:385
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