Read an excerpt from It's All Tru
In Sky Gilbert’s new play It’s All Tru, love, sex, and pharmaceuticals are put to the test when a gay couple’s open relationship is threatened with dangerous consequences.
Kurt, a silver fox dance instructor, and his young fiancé, Travis, have an arrangement: when one’s away, they’re allowed to stray . . . as long as they’re safe. One night, over a dinner conversation about wedding invitations, Travis admits that he had a fling with a man named Gideon whom he believes removed the condom during sex. He also reveals that he didn’t start taking the HIV preventative medication PrEP (Truvada)—as promised—putting himself and Kurt in danger of contracting HIV.
In this scene, Gideon appears on Kurt and Travis’s doorstep in the middle of the night with alarming news.
TRAVIS is alone sitting on the couch. He is dressed conservatively in a sweater and pants. There is a gentle knock on the door. He goes and answers it. GIDEON stands there. This time he is wearing a beat-up leather jacket over a t-shirt. He has a Starbucks cup again.
TRAVIS looks at him for a moment.
GIDEON: (quiet, strange) Thanks for . . . seeing me.
TRAVIS: Well you said . . . life or death.
I’m gonna sit down, okay?
TRAVIS: Yes, sure.
TRAVIS watches GIDEON, who slowly sits down on the couch. TRAVIS sits down in a chair opposite him and watches him.
Are you all right?
GIDEON: No . . . no, I’m not fuckin’ all right.
They’re gonna. They’re gonna put me in jail.
TRAVIS: You don’t know that.
GIDEON: Like fuck I don’t.
They almost put me in jail once before. I’m on the list.
TRAVIS: What list?
GIDEON: There’s like a list of people, right, in Hamilton who are HIV-positive and they’re not supposed to have sex.
TRAVIS: You can’t be serious.
GIDEON: You think I made this up?
No, the reason they won’t let us have sex is because we’re HIV-positive, right, and then somebody we’ve had sex with gets a venereal disease like syphilis or gonorrhea or some clap thing, and what they figure is the only way you can get a venereal disease is if you have had unprotected sex with somebody. So some guy I had sex with got venereal disease and he told Public Health it was me, and then I got on the list. They sent me a letter saying that if I had sex with anybody else without a condom they would haul me in for questioning and maybe put me in jail. And then somebody else I had sex with got the clap—
TRAVIS: Gideon, did you give these guys VD?
GIDEON: I don’t fucking know. They’re fucking sluts like me, so who knows how they got it?
TRAVIS: Did you have unprotected sex with them?
GIDEON: I always use condoms for anal.
GIDEON: Except when people ask me not to.
TRAVIS: I didn’t.
GIDEON: Well you did, but it doesn’t matter anyway. Once you’re on the list they’ve got it in for you and they’re watching you like a hawk and there’s nothing you can do. So this other guy said I gave him the clap. So then they threatened to arrest me if I didn’t stop having sex.
TRAVIS: That’s severe.
GIDEON: You’re not fucking kidding it’s severe.
Can I ask you something?
GIDEON: How are you supposed to NOT have sex?
TRAVIS: I don’t know.
GIDEON: I guess there are some people who do it. Not me though.
Pause. He opens up his bag and starts to pull things out.
You know what sex is?
TRAVIS: What do you mean?
GIDEON: What’s it for? Why do people have sex?
TRAVIS: Well it’s . . . for fun, I guess. To relieve tension. I don’t know.
GIDEON: You might think that. You might think that, but it’s not true.
TRAVIS: What’s it for then?
To make babies?
GIDEON: Straight people think that. But that’s not true either.
TRAVIS sighs. Pause.
So, what is sex for then?
GIDEON: Sex is the only time you get to leave your body when you’re alive. This guy told me that once, and I thought about it, and it’s true. What this guy told me is, before we’re born we’re all part of the general—well, we’re all part of the general . . . atmosphere, and we’re all together, and that’s where we’re meant to be, you know, with everyone else together. And when we get born and the umbilical cord gets cut, we’re suddenly a separate human being, but that’s not what we were meant to be or what we want to be. So when we’re alive, and we are separate human beings, we always want to go back to that time when we were with everybody in the . . . atmosphere . . . but the only time we have to escape ourselves and be close to the rest of the universe, like before we were born, is when we have sex. And everybody wants that and needs that. Which is why sex is so important. Because it’s the only time we can get stop being this lonely separate body—without dying.
I think I’ve heard that before somewhere.
GIDEON: Yeah, it’s a big philosophical idea.
He looks at his artifacts.
So you see, if you don’t have sex ever, then you miss out on that. And that’s not fair. It’s not only not fair, it can like . . . drive you crazy.
TRAVIS: I think I’d go crazy without sex.
GIDEON collects all the artifacts and puts then them back except for the piece of glass.
GIDEON: We all would. So I don’t know how they can expect you to go without sex. But that’s what Public Health wants. So, anyway, they told me to stop having sex, but I don’t want to stop doing it, so I’ve been keeping on doing it and hoping I wouldn’t get into trouble like . . . but now . . . I’m in trouble. I’m in big trouble.
TRAVIS: I can’t believe they can just put you in jail for having sex—
GIDEON: They’ll put me in solitary.
GIDEON: They’ll put me in solitary and they’ll throw away the key.
GIDEON starts to cry.
TRAVIS sits with him on the couch.
TRAVIS: Gideon . . . no . . .
GIDEON: Yes they will . . . I know this guy. He was in the same situation I’m in and he got convicted and then because he had HIV they put him in solitary and they threw away the key.
I can’t fucking survive that, man. They’re going to put me in solitary. I can’t deal with that—
TRAVIS: I can’t believe—
GIDEON: STOP saying that. Believe it, okay?
GIDEON gets up and walks away, turning his back to TRAVIS.
TRAVIS: I’m sorry, Gideon.
GIDEON: Tell me something.
GIDEON: This boyfriend of yours that you think is so sexy. The old man . . .
GIDEON: He’s German, right?
TRAVIS: He’s of German . . . extraction.
GIDEON: He’s GERMAN, right?
GIDEON: Did you ever think . . . maybe he was a Nazi?
TRAVIS: Kurt is not a Nazi, Gideon.
GIDEON: Are you sure?
GIDEON turns around.
They put the faggots in jail. And then they gassed them.
TRAVIS: Kurt is gay, Gideon.
GIDEON: Is he?
TRAVIS: Yes, of course he is. He’s just very angry about what you did.
GIDEON: Okay, listen to me. I was thinking there’s one chance—there’s just one chance I can think of, one way out of this. You told me the reason why you didn’t say anything when he said that he wanted me to go to jail is that he thought there was something between us, so maybe if you told him, maybe if I told him that there was nothing between us for sure, then maybe he wouldn’t be so . . . angry.
TRAVIS: I don’t know.
GIDEON: Or can you tell him I’ll end up in solitary? Can you at least tell him that?
Or you COULD tell him that you asked me to do it . . . at least that would be the fuckin’ truth—
TRAVIS: But I didn’t want it, Gideon.
GIDEON: Oh yeah?
TRAVIS: That’s what I mean.
GIDEON: Jesus. Then forget it. Forget I even came. There’s no point. I’m going to jail. I’m going to fuckin’ solitary and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. But here. But when I find a belt or something and hang myself in solitary or I take a fucking pen and stick it in my throat until I bleed to death, just remember this conversation. Fuck.
GIDEON goes to the door.
GIDEON: What? What do you have to say to me?
TRAVIS: Listen, I’ll try . . . something.
GIDEON: Can you fuckin’ try . . . hard?
I know you say you didn’t want me to do that but . . . I’ve been thinking about you throwing out the rock I gave you, and the thing is, I keep wanting to give you things, and the way it works is when I give people things it’s because they’re asking me for it. Somehow because I know . . .
GIDEON suddenly takes something out of his pocket.
TRAVIS: What is it?
GIDEON: It’s another sacred thing. You said you threw the rock out, but please don’t throw this out. I just want you to have something . . . to remember me. This is a piece of glass from an old theatre. They tore down this old theatre—the Lyric Theatre in Hamilton—and I found this piece of glass and I saved it and I thought because you were a theatre guy . . . you would like it. Here.
TRAVIS: Thanks, Gideon.
GIDEON: Okay. I better go now. I wouldn’t want to stay too long and meet your Nazi boyfriend again.
You know. The young one? The one you say is so good in bed.
GIDEON picks up his bag and goes toward the door.
The fuckin’ Nazi who is your fuckin’ life partner or whatever you called him—
TRAVIS: I’ll try and make him understand. I’ll say something. I’ll . . . use my powers of persuasion. I’ve used them before.
GIDEON: It won’t do any good.
TRAVIS: I’ll try. I’ll really try.
I didn’t know it was all so serious. I didn’t know they would put you in . . . solitary.
GIDEON: Well it is . . . plenty fuckin’ serious. And this is real. This isn’t some play you’re putting on.
TRAVIS: All right. I understand.
GIDEON walks to the door.
GIDEON: And don’t throw out that piece of glass. Even if it looks dirty to you.
Because it’s sacred.
TRAVIS: Don’t worry, I won’t.
GIDEON steps out, but wavers at the door.
TRAVIS is alone. He picks up the piece of glass and then puts it in front of his eye and tries to look through it. Lights dim to black.
Find out what happens next in It’s All Tru, available now!