Just in time for the Gay Games comes an angst-ridden coming-of-age story of a gay high-school wrestler who is grappling with sexual-identity issues while being surrounded by macho teammates who compensate for the implicit homoeroticism of the sport’s intimate masculine contact by explicitly preaching and practicing homophobia, even becoming involved in a gay hate crime. The script, written by Jim Provenzano after his novel of the same name, seems to be unsure of where it wants to go and tries to tackle way too much, but is most moving when it focuses on the conflicted feelings of the young male couple who discover themselves out on the mat, as it were, and are simultaneously attracted and repelled by the very aggression that seems to drive both the homoeroticism and homophobia that engulfs them. These themes were more fully explored in “Blade to the Heat,” but a strong cast and no-holds-barred realistic combat choreography both on and off the mat that at times is almost painful to watch, along with plenty of muscle-bound guys in tights and even in nude shower scenes should find an appreciative audience. Presented as part of Bailiwick Repertory’s 2006 Pride Series. (Dennis Polkow)
“Pins” plays at Bailiwick Arts Building, 1229 West Belmont, (773)883-1090, through July 23.