Thursday, September 13, 2007

Straight As A Rainbow

As previously mentioned, there were several gay or gay relevant shows at the recent fringe theater festival in Indianapolis (IndyFringe). I saw five of them. One was Greg Haskins' Almost Walking A Straight Line, a one person comedic story telling session about the gay performer's religious upbringing. It was good but not great. The funniest bit to me was the segment on attempting to speak in tongues. Greg tells of the great effort he put into trying to do this while working on it with his religious leaders. He is finally considered "successful" when he knowingly spouts some gibberish. When he is told that that is all there is to it, he says if he had known that earlier he would have just exclaimed "Chang chang, chang-it-ty chang shoo-bop" from Grease at the start of it (with the proper hand motions).

The part that troubled me was when he mimicked a stereotypical, effeminate gay friend of his. He used the caricature for comedy but also to show how he learned from it to act more "straight". I'm uncomfortable being in a theater with a lot of straight people watching stereotypes of gay behavior being reinforced. Worse, I find it unsettling to see a macho man mincing and prancing and Greg is definitely a manly man. The incongruity of it is like watching Rosie O'Donnell french kissing Donald Trump.

Two other shows were Thanks For The Scabies, Jerkface and Somewhere In Between. Scabies was pretty much a monologue about several real-life events that happened to the gay performer. This show really inspired me. It inspired me to realize that even I could write and perform crap as bad as that. Somewhere In Between on the other hand was a powerful performance by a troupe from Israel that focused on asking what makes a man a man and a woman a woman. The actors off stage were kind of weird but I really enjoyed the performance and I loved the Israeli accent. I am reminded that on my to-do list is to capture an IDF soldier for a night of debauchery before his Day of Atonement. I want me a big Hebrew National.

Speaking of over the top performances, I have watched the following clip so many times and I'm still finding additional hysterical parts in it.

I have done the same routine many times when entering a movie theater but I have always had to do it solo.


Adam said...

I love the "I Wanna Be Your Bttm" clip.

I just got back from the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and somehow I avoided any shows that had any reference to sexuality! Amazing.

S said...

I went to several other shows as well and the worst was "Radioactive Space Bear". Three different scenes where the actors talk to or about a large stuffed bear on the stage. Dreadful. I still have no idea what the show was about.

Anonymous said...

What was so bad about that scabies show?

S said...

For me, I didn't find the stories very engaging, especially in comparison to the unusual experiences in my own life. Also, the delivery was too low-key for a theatrical event. To keep the audience entertained you need to tell the story more dramatically, using more inflection and mannerisms. A show has to be several notches above just sounding like someone telling a funny story over dinner. Steve Marrocco, Matt Panesh and Mary Armstrong would be good examples of people telling stories in a way that the audience knows that are seeing a show and not just listening to someone recite an anecdote.

On the other hand, everybody else's opinions of the show were positive, so I wouldn't pay too much attention to one person's views. You can't please everyone.