Interview: Next Fall‘s Patrick Breen on Homophobia, Religion, and Being Bisexual

PB: I have had more girlfriends than boyfriends but I have certainly had boyfriends.

KS: So you’re bisexual?

PB: Yeah. But I definitely identify as LGBT.

KS What’s the Woody Allen line?

PB: It gives you 50 percent more of a chance for a date on Saturday night. Exactly.

KS: Another metaphor for this play — in a way — is that show business itself is the Born Again parent that you as an actor can’t come out to just as Luke can’t come out to his Born Again parents in the play. There are so many gay actors who aren’t out because of the disapproval of The Business.

PB: Yep. And they’re not wrong. It’s unfortunate. This is the first time I’m ever talking about it.

KS: Because of the play and it’s subject matter I think it’s important to ask that question. It is a play about letting go of shame after all. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking that question because I don’t think that being gay is an indictment as some people do — including people in the Obama White House if you judge their reaction to what has been written about Elena Kagan, whom they might appoint to the Supreme Court. They went ballistic when it was written she might be gay. They referred to it as a “charge.” Well, I’m sorry. Such a reaction is just homophobia dressed up in nicer material. It’s the same homophobic sweater the rightwing wears — it’s just cashmere instead of acrylic.

PB: You’re right. It’s just a different style of homophobia. Same design different material. Bishop Gene Robinson came to the play last Tuesday and he did a Talk Back with the audience with us afterwards. By the way, as for myself I’m an ex-Catholic atheist with a spiritual side. That’s the best way I can describe it. Here’s an example of why I’m no longer a Catholic. I hope my mom doesn’t mind my saying this. There came a period when she couldn’t have more children because it was damaging to her. She had six pregnancies and only three children. The doctor suggested my mom and dad forego having anymore children. So may dad, who’s a good Catholic, went and asked his priest what they should do. And the priest told him they should live like brother and sister – which they rejected without rejecting their faith.

Nextfall5But back to Bishop Robinson and his own faith and how he sees himself as an instrument of God. He looks at what’s going on in the world and sees incremental changes happening all around us — as an example, I guess, the fact that people are even mentioning Kagan’s sexuality right now. He said he looks at it as part of God’s work — the fact that such a discussion of anyone’s sexuality is no longer as shrouded as it once was. He’s going to California for the investiture of a lesbian woman as a bishop in the Episcopal Church. He had to wear a bullet proof vest at his own investiture. He’s hopeful that she won’t have to. Is that progress? I don’t know. Maybe. So it’s happening in incremental ways in lots of areas and as for this area that I am in — show business — we’ll see how far we progress. When you write that I’m bi-sexual does that mean I can’t play a dad on a television show anymore?

KS: Are you bi-sexual in the way that Elton John once was?

PB: I don’t know what that means.

KS: He once said he was bi-sexual, I think, before coming all the way out of the closet. That in and of itself could also be seen as an incremental step, one toward admitting that one is really gay.

PB: I don’t think so. I think I just fall in that weird point in the Kinsey scale. And I like that. I’ll try anything once. My theory is find out who you like and what you like to do and then try to do it. I’m attracted to who I am attracted to — men, women. My head turns …. and … ah .. hmm … well, my head turns and what do I do?

KS: Not to be too Freudian about it.

PB: My head turns is Freudian?

KS: Your head — as in giving head, getting head, the head of your dick.

PB: (Laughing) Oh, my God. That’s good. That’s good.

KS: As a Sicilian/Irish boy raised Catholic on Staten Island is it more difficult for you to come out as a bi-sexual or an atheist?

PB: A bi-sexual.

KS: Are you in a relationship now with a man or a woman?

PB: I’m not with anyone right now.

KS: Well, this is on Towleroad so you may be in a week or so.

PB: Awesome. I’m open for it.


Next Fall is playing at the Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 w. 44th Street, New York, NY. Ticket and show information HERE.