Last Summer At Bluefish Cove by Jane Chambers

Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Comment and compare plays, You Choose our Finale | 6 comments

Last Summer at Bluefish Cove  is important in theater history as the first mainstream, high quality script featuring well crafted gay characters in a compelling love story revealing universal truths within the lesbian experience.

The central character is a vibrant, self-confident woman named Lil Zalinski, who is spending the summer alone at a beach cottage in a small enclave that has been a lesbian haven for 30 years.  Also at the cove are her dearest friends, three couples, including a couple of former lovers.  There”s Earth mother Rae and her partner, Annie, an acclaimed sculptor who is Lil”s best friend; Kitty Cochrane, a doctor turned best-selling author of feminist books, and her partner-secretary, Rita; and rich dowager Sue with her girl-toy, Donna.

Into their company arrives Eva Margolis, a straight woman who mistakenly rents a cottage in their community.   The first act is an often hilarious series of scenes in which the lesbian characters try to hide their orientation from the outsider.  Each character fears being “outed,” but  Kitty has the most to lose because her credibility as feminist scholar would be completely undermined.  But things are complicated by a growing friendship between Eva and Lil, who feels a protective instinct toward the newcomer.

It turns out that Eva has just left her husband, partly inspired by Kitty”s best selling feminist manifesto, The Female Sexual Imperative.   As Eva begins to fit into the community, Lil, a self-described “alley cat,” finds herself really in love for the first time, and Eva blossoms under the wiser woman”s wings.  Their midsummer idyll is interrupted by a return of Lil”s cancer, and the possibility of death brings a wonderful urgency to the relationship.  This play is not so much about women in love as it is about love and friendship itself, and the many varieties that exist

The friendships, the laughter, the love, the fears of being outed, the difficulties of being gay and how it affects relationships with family, children, parents and careers, the demonstrations of what the painful price could be for a gay life 30 years ago in everyday America, had never before been told with such respect. Chambers” comedic dialogue, sensitivity to human nature and tender treatment of her characters help the play transcend preconceptions and show the universality of these women’s journeys, whether straight or gay.


  1. I love all the women roles, feminism, friendship and family issues. This play would be a moving experience to watch or take part in. Sign me up! When are auditions?

    • The exact dates are still being worked out. It will be the second show of the Spring semester. Auditions are probably early March.

      • Just to be open I am here mostly as an option for extra credit for my history class.

        Hi I”m not quite up on how to blog…. Though I see there hasn”t been very many as of yet. The one above was dated November. I went to the Play at Palomar last Thursday. I enjoyed the play very much. I found myself emotionally involved at various times. I am trying to understand if the play is a remake of a play from the 1970s or if it is an original depicting events and situations of that time.

        I found that being a women myself, I related to the relationship issues on various levels. As a mother, exwife of an exhusband, friend of (whats the correct way to state) various gay couples… Also now someone involved with a partner who has experienced open relationships with both sexes. I have been curious and at the same time not yet ready to …..

        It seems that from the play and through ones common sense that people are people regardless of their sexual relationships. We all experience love, pain, jealousy, abuse, prejudice, neglect, growth, and death. Each one to a different degree depending on various variables.

        I was surprised to see a range of ages at the Thursday presentation of the Play. All of the performers did a wonderful job of presenting the material they all displayed a range of emotions and I felt myself reacting on a personal level, I laughed, cried and sat in anticipation.

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