Gemini Themes

Themes and Meanings (Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Gemini, as the title (the constellation representing the twins Castor and Pollux) suggests, is constructed around a continuous set of dualities. Whether one examines the play in its entirety or in subtle nuances, it is clear that Innaurato contrasts a world of opposites. The play emphasizes an environment of the grotesque, albeit one with counterpoints from the sublime. Not only are most of the people relatively unattractive, but also the setting is an undecorated backyard of lower-class America. In contrast to this world, Innaurato introduces two attractive people: Judith is described as “intimidatingly beautiful” and Randy as “a very handsome WASP.” Innaurato also uses Francis’s opera recordings to underscore scenes and contrast the beauty of the opera world with the tawdry environment of South Philadelphia.

Gemini’s meaning is capable of many interpretations. In an afterword to a published version of the play, Innaurato states that although some people question the play’s ending, he sees it neither as a “cop out” nor as “affirming heterosexuality as a lifestyle chosen by the hero at the ninth hour.” Moreover, he adds that he does not mean the reverse as true, either, “nor is the ending meant to be ironic, or to parody affirmative endings.” He goes on to argue that the meaning of the play’s ending “is transparent: a young man who is in the main heterosexual . . . but who has had some self-doubts . . . elects to continue a more or less successful relationship with a girl to whom he is well suited, and who is well suited to him.” He sees the ending as happy because “Francis chooses to work with a realistic situation, despite possible problems, rather than chasing off after a potentially destructive fantasy.”

To many critics, however, Gemini’s ending feels contrived, and they regard it as the creation of a savvy playwright who wants his play to be popular and commercially successful.