Playwrights, directors, and actors spend countless hours researching, writing, rewriting, memorizing, staging, and emotionally preparing for work that strives for perfection. With so many variables in play, perfection is seldom realized, as most theater professionals will admit. But when it is, audiences are left breathless and shaken, reaching for handkerchiefs and superlatives to describe an experience that words can't do justice. That was the case with Mothers and Sons, the crown jewel of GableStage's season. Set around a surprise visit from a gay widow's mother-in-law, who still hasn't accepted her son's passing from AIDS, Terrence McNally's play exhibited a profound understanding of gay-straight relations in the 21st Century, riding rapidly shifting tides with an empathetic eye for those left behind. Angie Radosh's performance humanized intolerance with the truth and complexity of a master craftsman; Michael McKeever channeled the soul of the modern gay man with both patience and quivering, righteous indignation; and Jeremiah Musgrove flawlessly embodied McKeever's younger boyfriend, representing a healthy generation removed from Stonewall. Director Joseph Adler put all the pieces together for an unforgettable, mind-opening work of art.