‘What’s Wrong with Angry’ Speaks to Audience

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Some things are considered
shameful not because they are
wrong, but simply because they
are forbidden.

“What’s Wrong With Angry” by
Patrick Wilde, the current
production of the college’s theater
arts department, centers around
events following in young lives
from the British Sexual Offences
Act of 1967, which limited the
relations of homosexuals to
consenting adults 21 years of age,
provided it was in privacy.
The play examines the life of a
16-year-old boy who struggles
with the secrecy of a homosexual
life and the pains that are caused
by the inability of his family and
schoolmates to understand; his
best friend Linda is the only

The well-suited cast gave the
audience a way to identify with
each character; this was
exemplified in the casting of the
lead boy Steven Carter (Simon
Vahlne) who displayed all the
gestures and awkwardness of
speech that come with the
intimidation of being questioned.
Because of his gayness, Carter
is an outcast in an English allboys

He is punished by the boys who
would like to assert themselves as
more masculine. Things are
further complicated when Carter
confesses to Linda (Jennifer
Ullrich) that he has been in love
with the popular John Westhead
(Richard Sharrah) who gains the
respect of all of Carter’s

Westhead is renowned among
his peers for all the qualities
young boys praise each other for
and although he hasn’t a clear
view of his own sexuality, he
shares no sign of it with his mates.
But it is the kindness he shows
to Carter in the midst of his
repeated hazing that raises the
doubt of homosexuality in the
minds of the boys that they dare
not question.

Ullrich is brilliant in her
performance as she captures all
the immediacy and flippancy one
might have in giving advice to a
close friend who will not listen.
Interspersed are scenes where a
professor of Carter’s – a
homosexual, closeted within the
school – Simon Hutton (Brian
Dembkoski) acts as a narrator to
the scenes of Carter’s struggles,
identifying and elaborating on the
feeling of rejection and shame he
himself had experienced as a
homosexual. He pours his advice
into a tape recorder to give to

The play addresses the ineffectiveness
of a law that seeks to
remedy a behavior that is core to
some, as well as the adverse
effects inflicted on those who are
in hiding.

The homosexual men of the
time, acting in accordance with
the law which would not allow
them to be open, frequented
public toilets to find partners for
sex. Hutton recalls in his advice to
Carter that it was there that he
made love for the first time.
In all this seriousness, the play
is not without humor. When it
comes to the scenes of the public
toilets, men in long dark coats
enter offering themselves while
dancing to disco music.

The play was written with
much wit yet it is in the delivery
of the actors, complete with
polished British accents, that
brings the story home to the

It is particularly the vivid
interplay between Vahlne and
Ullrich that was brings life to the

“What’s Wrong With Angry” is
performed in the GCC auditorium
in the studio through Saturday at 8

Rating: * * * * (out of four).