It's easy to forget, in our enlightened and accepting times, that until just 40 years ago, homosexuality was treated as a sexual disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the guidebook for mental health professionals. Back in 1974, the decision to remove it from the DSM was so controversial that some 40 percent of the American Psychological Association's membership voted to have it reinstated into the manual's fourth edition.
Half of Alexi Kaye Campbell's award-winning, London-set play The Pride, running now at Island City Stage, is set during this dark, prohibited time in gay history. The other half follows similar characters 50 years later, where openness doesn't necessarily translate into healthier relationships. Whether it takes place in 1958 or 2008, Oliver (Michael McKeever) and Philip (Bruce Linser) fumble and fume toward breakthroughs, breakdowns, and breakups. The play seems to be saying that in those intervening years, society may have changed, but people remain the same.