But Not for Love

The latest in a string of works reflecting on same-sex marriage, Matthew A. Everett's politically correct dramedy comes across as more polemic than play. It's populated by characters who generally seem like mouthpieces of the playwright's views rather than multidimensional humans. Opponents of the Proposition 8 legislation might have found a new weapon: Courtesy of Richard Warren Baker's generally flaccid direction and the circuitous debates that dominate the script, it seems the controversial proposition could face the prospect of being bludgeoned to death by this series of protracted shouting matches.

The primary setting for the predictable showdowns is a church chapel where a double wedding is about to take place. One is between bride-in-orange Eleanor (Krystal Kennedy), who adamantly maintains that a white gown would be quite inappropriate for her, and her homophobic groom Roland (Chadbourne Hamblin). They will recite their vows alongside Eleanor's brother Ephraim (John Croshaw) and his flamboyant flame Patrick (Andy Loviska). Looming outside the chapel, screaming a repetitive fire-and-brimstone speech to the audience, is Patrick's Bible-thumping younger brother, Jacob (Nick Sousa). To provide additional fodder for the theme of sexual diversity, an attraction ensues between a transgender minister (Natasha St. Clair-Johnson) and the burly widowed policeman (Patrick Tiller) summoned to the chapel after a rock comes sailing through the stained-glass window.

The young ensemble cast deserves points for their valiant efforts to enliven this wannabe crowd pleaser, though Baker would do well to clean up intermittent lapses in enunciation and projection and awkward blocking in which the actors upstage themselves. Following their characters' meet-cute encounter, St. Clair-Johnson and Tiller share amusing moments. The subtlest approach comes across best, namely Croshaw's smitten young man who wishes his wedding ceremony was more intimate and less like a shrill political grandstanding stunt. The same could be said about this admirably intended play.

Presented by and at the Renegade Theatre, 1514 N. Gardner St., Hollywood. Feb. 4–Mar. 14. Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m. (323) 960-4443. www.plays411.com/forlove.