Some reasons I’ll miss the Homo

Print

by Matthew A. Everett | 6/24/09 • “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures,” that is.

I’ll post a more “review-like” review, too. But I’ve seen it five times now, and will hopefully make it six before the weekend is out, so suffice it to say, I love the thing. It’s pretty amazing. You should see it. (It’s my nod to gay pride and playwright pride this year, all wrapped up in one. Well, until the Fringe Festival starts…)

single white fringe geek is the blog of matthew a. everett. in addition to being one of six bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet, he blogs throughout the year about theater and culture.

Last chances – tonight through this Sunday, June 28, to see the new Tony Kushner play. Deals below…

But since I work in the Guthrie Theater‘s box office, I’ve been living with the title, and the impending new creation, for a while.

In renewing season subscriptions last year, some people opted out of the Kushner play, so there would be notes on an order to be processed…

“No Homo”

“Homo No”

The internal production calendar for the theater has to abbreviate the titles to get everything to fit on a standard sized page. The Kushner play was labeled…

“Homosex”

The month of June, six days a week…

Homosex, Homosex, Homosex, etc.

Someone higher in the foodchain in the administrative offices was concerned that people might take offense in the box office to the word “Homo” used as an abbreviation in the ticketing system (personally, I would have found it vastly amusing). So “Caroline, or Change” became “Caroline” – “Tiny Kushner” (a name that came much later)” was just “Short Plays” – and “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide…” became just “Kushner”

However, since we need dividers with the title, day and time of all shows to store tickets in our filing drawers, and since I’ve been the guy who took on the upkeep for that, soon we had a drawer that had 40-plus dividers all labeled

Homo, Homo, Homo…

The silliest things give me pleasure sometimes.

Like the announcements over the loudspeaker. They’ve abbreviated the title to “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide” for announcements.

Otherwise, at the five minute warning…

“Ladies and gentlemen, five minutes please. The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide To Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures will begin… oh, I’m sorry, it’s already started…”

It’s a big unwieldy title which I fell in love with pretty quickly. Though there was no script for many months, when people would ask what it was about, I felt I could say, perusing the title – “Well, let’s see, religion, politics, hot man-on-man action would be my guess.” Ultimately, not that far from the mark.

It’s been amusing to see people deal with the title. Some have more trouble than others. The fact that the word “Homosexual” is slowly scrolling in red chaser lights up the side of large pole on top of the theater roof which can be seen from blocks away is challenging for some folks. Some people living in the condos nearby have called to voice “concern.”

Others will walk right up and when you ask what they want tickets for will just blurt out “Homosexual” like it was the word “car” or “lunch.”

Some will come at it sideways, asking for “that play about capitalism and socialism” or “that Kushner play.”

“We have three right now. Is it the musical?”
“No.”
“Is it the short plays?”
“No.”
“The Intelligent Homosexual?”
“That one.”

There are T-shirts in the gift shop that simply say “Intelligent HOMO sexual” on them. I have two. They’re currently the gayest thing I own. I wear it on duty because it’s the one place most people won’t look at me funny for having it on. People sometimes just point at the front of the shirt to avoid having to say the title aloud.

A family came in for a backstage tour one day, and the mother commented appreciatively about the T-shirt. Then her young daughter read it, turned to her and asked, “Mom, what’s a homosexual?”

“We’ll talk about that later, dear.”

When people line up for rush tickets, and we doublecheck, we ask “Are you here to see The Intelligent Homosexual?” which sounds a bit like they might be coming to visit the Wizard of Oz.

The lighted sign over the entry to the theater lobby upstairs doesn’t have quite enough room for the whole title, so it gets broken up thusly

“The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to

the Scriptures – 7:30pm”

which makes it seem like we’re holding evening Bible readings, if you just catch the last part.

Mr. Kushner himself had to come up with a handy abbreviation, which he revealed at his speaking engagement a couple of weeks back. His husband thought it should be like an iPhone, so they started calling it

iHo

Strange as it seems, in the shadow of a much more popular musical production, and a series of short plays with more glowing reviews, the Homo has been the underdog of the festival. I find myself trying to lead the rallying cry some shifts.

“Go Homo. Go Homo.”

“Go Big, or Go Homo.”

Soon it will all be over. I will have to retire the T-shirts (it often feels like wearing a target on my chest wearing it beyond the walls of the theater). There will be no new plays. The forests and copying machines will breathe a sigh of relief. Many patrons will breathe a sigh of relief – and go back to their diet of Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Noel Coward (intelligent homosexuals, and honorary homosexuals, one and all). Calcified theater scripts, long set in stone, will rule the day. Even next year’s “M. Butterfly” (no, it’s NOT the opera, yikes – think “The Crying Game,” people) (as Mike Myers would say, “She’s a man, baby!”), way out in front in the sweepstakes for next season’s most “edgy” play on the Guthrie stage, is over 20 years old. Rebecca Gilman (!) (yay!) is the only living playwright crossing the threshhold next year with potential scribbling on their mind, and she’s redoing Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House.”

But I’m glad they all took the chance. And I’m glad I got to see it. And I’ll miss it. For reasons both good and silly.

It looks like they might even make budget on the Kushner celebration (two shows down, one show with four performances to go).

They mentioned the other day that people from all 50 states came to see some part of the Kushner-fest. Even that one lone homo in West Virginia, god bless ’em. I’m strangely proud of all of that.

If you haven’t seen “iHo” yet, or want to see it again, the rush line continues to be a pretty good bet. Haven’t had to turn anyone away yet, unfortunately. But now that we’ve reached closing weekend, things might get a little tighter. Call ahead to check on availability and when you might want to get there to save a space in line – 612-377-2224. Cash or check only in the rush line, and you don’t get to choose your seats, but they want the best seats filled. So you could get a good ticket for not a lot of money going that route. Whatever tickets don’t go at full price, will go to the rush line, 15-30 minutes before show time. $20 Sunday through Thursday evenings and matinees, $25 Friday and Saturday

The Guthrie’s world premiere production of Tony Kushner’s “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism & Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures” runs through June 28, 2009 on the McGuire Proscenium stage at the Guthrie Theater (818 South Second Street in Minneapolis).

Matthew A. Everett is a local playwright and three-time recipient of grant support from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Information on Matthew and his plays can be found at matthewaeverett.com.

Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.