All My Love, Kate
by Joe Breen
The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street
Review by Robert Viagas
Joe Breen’s drama, All My Love, Kate, cracks the closet door on an important neglected chapter of homosexual history: gay servicemen who had to slog through the hell of World War II with a photo of the “wrong kind” of sweetheart stashed in the pocket over their hearts. The play focuses on Jack and Danny (Brendan Cataldo and Matt W. Cody), lovers forced to separate when macho Jack marches off to war. Left behind, gentle Danny sends steamy love letters that he signs “Kate,” after their mutual obsession, actress Katharine Hepburn.
The play, which runs a little over two hours, needs tightening, especially in its second half, when a big reveal about a Japanese prison guard comes long after the audience has figured it out. Kazuhiro Imafuku is touching as a seemingly stereotyped cruel “Jap” who has a secret of his own. But his extended all-Japanese dialog passages are too long for an audience that may not know that language.
The play dramatizes the injustices Jack and Danny had to face, both at the battle front and the home front, respectively, but never becomes a polemic. Sarah Matteucci, Chris McFarland and Jill Melanie Wirth help dramatize the kinds of non-combatant allies and enemies they faced on both battlefields. The recurring period ballad, “I’m Confessin’ That I Love You,” haunts the action.
All My Love, Kate is being presented as part of the Fresh Fruit Festival at The Wild Project, the Off-Off Broadway theatre in Alphabet City.