Putting on a show in San Francisco

Home at last after my whirlwind 2-week road trip down to San Francisco for my event with the GuyWriters, a gay men's literary networking organization that includes not only poets but also many fantastic playwrights and actors active in San Francisco's underground and experimental theatrical scene. The group's co-founder, actor and director Donald Currie, was one of The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet's earliest fans, reading the very first draft of the novel in manuscript. (Donald is one of my original "fairy godfathers" and has been a close family friend since before I was born, when he and my parents were members together of the Gestalt Fool Theater Family, a 1960s "commune and radical performance group" that deserves its own blog post, so I won't say any more about it now.)

Those familiar with Donald Currie's recent projects may be unsurprised to learn that what began as a relatively modest "staged reading" of sonnets and scenes from the novel ended up becoming a madcap over-the-top one-act play, with actors, wild costumes (Oh so many handsewn ruffs! Talk about the pricking of my thumbs!) props, and culminating in a bawdy dance routine set to sonnets 144 ("Two loves I have of comfort and despair...") and 129 ("The expense of spirit in a waste of shame/Is lust...").

The house was packed (hardly a feat at the tiny Boxcar Theatre, which only seats about 50) and they went wild at the finale as Donald sang while I stripped down to thigh-high boots, fishnets, and a leather bustier and tangoed with each of the "Ruff Trade Boys"(actors Michael Vega, Adam Simpson, Brian Martin, and Aaron Tworek), who ended by lifting me up into the air, showgirl-style.

I'm still amazed that we were able to pull the whole thing together with only a week's rehearsal, and while it was one of the most stressful things I've done recently, I also can't remember when I last had so much fun. Thanks so much to Donald, to the brilliant and outrageous actors, to Ben Pither for running tech, to David Wilson for the gorgeous promotional photos, and to GuyWriters and Boxcar Theatre.

Here are some rehearsal and pos
t-show snapshots. Alas, there was no video and few pictures taken of the event itself, so we shall just have to remember Walter Benjamin: "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be..." and contemplate the essential ephemerality of the live theatrical experience. If you were in the audience and have clips or pics, please send them to me at contactmyrlin@gmail.com and I'll post them here.