In the category of “shows that I liked which will surprise absolutely no one” there is of course a subcategory of “Shows With A Big Helping of Gay”
Fringe time is one of the few times of the year I actually get to see gay characters on stage who aren’t just wacky sidekicks or victims, so I try to take full advantage. Shows previewing in Fringe-For-All 1 that were pretty darn gay included…
Arbor Heavy Theatre
“Two crude, galactic furballs corrupt sweet, all-American, KKK-loving teens. This satire inverts all they hold near and dear with homosexual young love, a black female Jesus H. Christ, and honest sincerity.”
The preview featured girls with ample cleavage in KKK outfits having a vapid conversation about life in a small town, when two enormous furballs (really, really enormous furballs) came waddling out on stage. They worked their alien furball mojo on the girls, causing them both to curse like sailors, while cycling back through that same conversation again (just more colorfully). Then the furballs berated them for speaking ill of people they had so much in common with (albeit, more colorfully.)
As Robin Gillette said, “They get to say fuck way more than I’m ever allowed to say fuck.” She also noted that they “win the prize for having the weirdest stuff backstage tonight.”
Now, none of this preview was especially gay, but the synopsis promises “homosexual young love” AND “a black female Jesus H. Christ.”
While FNU LNU in the 2007 Fringe wasn’t one of my all-time favorites, I still enjoyed that last Fringe outing with Mac Wellman.
And after spending time in the company of the artists of St. Fortune Productions at the Great Plains Theatre Conference this summer, most of whom are unabashed devotees of Mac Wellman, and enjoying all their own plays quite a lot, I figured it was time to get to know the works of Mr. Wellman a bit better. Thankfully, the Fringe is making it pretty easy for me to get started.
So, a lot of foul language, and a strange style of playwriting, not for everyone, but I think I’ll enjoy myself. If you’re looking for something different, you might, too.
Weird thing is, I get the feeling Arbor Heavy Theatre is familiar to me, even though they’re from Wisconsin. Just can’t put my finger on why. Regardless, Sincerity Forever, has my attention.
“Open and Affirming Fairy Tales: The Fabulous Fables of Rainbeau Bay
Finally, fairy tales showing diverse families living in the magical Land of Make Believe! A collection of classic stories retold by zany actors showing us to love ourselves, no matter what others may think.”
The preview was a snippet of the tale of the Princess and the Frog, only the Frog was also a girl, and turned into a Princess when kissed. But the spell didn’t hold for long, so the girl, and girl-frog, headed over to the sorcerer’s place. The sorcerer who cursed the girl-frog had a sorcerer’s hat with Mickey Mouse ears on it. After tricking the sorcerer into giving away the spell, the girls hurried off to try and work the magical cure themselves (but the red preview light meant they’d run out of time – cliffhanger!)
It’s the same fairy tales you remember, just with a same sex twist. Still kid-friendly from what I saw, though the gender switches may make for some interesting post-show discussions between parents and children. I’d like to think we’re beyond all that, but outside the Fringe bubble, I know things are more complicated. It’s why I’m happy the Fringe bubble exists once a year. Should be a fun show. I was looking forward to it even before the preview, Fringe-For-All just confirmed the instinct.
(Plus, I can’t stop giggling over the publicity photo, because I know this wasn’t their intention, but it looks like the most uncomfortable three-way ever.)
Their website – http://sites.google.com/site/awolproductionsmn/home
And prize for gayest show preview of the evening naturally goes to…
No More Mr. Nice Gay Theatre
“No More Mr. Nice Gay” found its way from a California Prop 8 opponent’s sign to a newly formed theatre company producing its first show at Minnesota Fringe 2010.
No More Mr. Nice Gay Theatre’s show “Naked Yoga (and Other Gay Love Stories)” brings to the Minneapolis stage five contemporary short plays about boys who love boys.
The plays are written by Kent Forsberg, are directed by Michelle Schwantes and Dominique J. Caputo, and star a gaggle of fab Twin Cities-area talent.
The show opens with “Why Does Bush Hate Flags?,” a comedic drama about two teen boys on opposite sides of a marriage-equality protest. This has been a hit at play festivals in Madison (StageQ’s “Queer Shorts”), Chicago (LiveWire Chicago Theatre’s “Vision Fest”), Miami (Lavender Footlights Festival), Washington, D.C. (Ganymede Arts’ “GLBT Fall Arts Festival”), and Boston (Boston Actors Theater’s “SlamBoston!”).
The show also features:
“Vampires of Minneapolis,” a comedic drama about two gay men trying to connect, despite uncovering unwelcome truths and lies about themselves.
“Justin and Kyle Shop at IKEA,” a comedy about two gay guys who find more than furniture in the IKEA Living Room.
“Killer ‘Mo,” a dark comedy about gay men and the roles they play to spice up their sex lives.
“Naked Yoga,” a comedic drama about two gay guys who are hesitant about exposing their bodies, but who end up exposing their emotional sides to each other.
Gay in the title, gay in the name of the theater company, and one, two, three, four men in shorts and nothing else in three humorous and revealing publicity photos (bonus goofy looks abound).
And the preview, from “Justin and Kyle Shop at IKEA,” was extremely gay. Justin and Kyle barely set foot in the place before a buff dude named Sven in very tiny shorts and a little tank top burst out from backstage to declare that “EVERY day is Gay Day at IKEA!” Only he says it “EE-KEE-A” (because of his almost impenetrable Scandanavian accent, of course). He’s not just a personal shopper, he’s a life coach. And a very aggressive one at that. You can bet that the one shopper who is labeled an IKEA virgin won’t be one for long with Sven on the job. Furniture gets sexualized perhaps even more than it will be in Yvette. I haven’t seen a guy hump the stage floor that enthusiastically since Wonderland at the Fringe back in 2006.
The producers have been trying to do this show in the Fringe since last year (but the ping pong balls of the lottery weren’t kind in 2009. They ended up stuck on the wait list.) They’re utilizing their Fringe page (& other publicity) plus the preview process really well. You’re not going to forget all that young flesh or vigorous comic acting very easily. They make an impression. They want you to know, “This is a gay Fringe show.” And god bless ’em for letting the rainbow flag fly high. I met them in May 2009 at a performance of Angels In America, starring (not coincidentally at all, I’m sure) Mason Mahoney as Belize, who is now part of their Fringe ensemble. Mason was one of the bright spots in that production, and I’m sure he’ll be the same at the Fringe.
There are times I don’t feel I’m quite gay enough to see this show, but I’m gonna get over myself and go anyway. There’s comedy. There’s a play in the mix that’s had some success elsewhere already. There’s no downside in having an attractive as well as talented cast. And if I don’t get a big dose of gay at the Fringe, when the heck else am I gonna get it, right?