Of the many refreshing things about Larry Keigwin’s concert at the Joyce, one of them is his honesty about gay relationships. So many male choreographers are gay, but most present only hetero relationships onstage. In my memory only Lar Lubovitch and Bill T. Jones (and Paul Taylor, but only as a joke) have really shown men and men together. In Larry’s Mattress Suite (made from 2001 to 2004) there’s a bride/groom duet on a mattress called “Straight Duet,” and a little later that guy (Keigwin himself) is having sensual fun with two other guys on that same mattress. The straight duet shows the bride and groom sorta wanting to go to bed with hilarious interventions on and about the mattress, but in the end the guy is so ambivalent that he can’t accept her embrace. But then he misses her. But then he happily romps with the two guys in “Three Ways.” And in the final round, “At Last,” all four jump behind the mattress together.
The fluid trading off in the threesome is skin-deep and does not depict a nitty gritty Relationship. But the whole sequence is relevant in that it plays out what a lot of people go through in terms of sexual orientation. Mattress Suite is a sweet, funny, good-natured way of showing how people can be attracted to each other whether they’ve decided on a single sexual preference or not. And it shows that a choreographer doesn’t always have to transpose homosexual into heterosexual for the stage.