Sunday, August 03, 2003

Fringe - Day 2 - Part 2

3 Way
Pillsbury House Theater

Were they naked? Sure. Briefly.

Is the acting good? Most definitely.

Is it amusing? Yes.

Warning - if you're over 5 feet tall, you may want to sit in the front row or on the aisles. Much as I love Pillsbury House, there is no leg room for anyone much taller than a munchkin.

(If that's all you need to know and you don't want to listen to me rant about the sorry state of queer theater, then just hop on over and order your ticket - because this show will sell out, you can't just show up and be guaranteed a seat at this one, people will be turned away)

Was I hoping it would do more? Of course. And I'm not talking about, "Hey, why isn't there more nudity? Why aren't their simulated sex acts?"

Really, if I wanted to see that, I'd stay home and rent a porn video, not sit in a nearly sold out theater with 80 other people.

I just left an intelligent, well-crafted script having to do with issues of faith and human relationships that had less than twenty people in the audience.

Here, I can't even stop and look at the art in the lobby because it's overcrowded with, gee, what a surprise, gay men.

And it just made me a little sad. Because we all got exactly what we came for and no more.

I'm not ragging specifically on the people of 3 Way. I think they're great. They did a great job. They're going to have a very successful run at the Fringe. They could probably take it on the road and pack the houses in cities from coast to coast.

Because most gay men won't bother to go to theater in large numbers unless you promise them a musical, or hot nude guys, or both.

Frankly, if I didn't have a friend in the show to whom I wanted to lend my support, I wouldn't have gone. (After he reads this, maybe he'll wish I hadn't). He didn't need me there to pad the house certainly.

Yes, I know we're hungry to see stories of ourselves on stage. Gay people have had their lives marginalized for so very long, almost any story that puts gay people front and center is worthwhile. And the Fringe is the one place where new gay theater can really take flight.

But, damn, if you have an audience, however you got them in the seats, DO something with that. Take a risk.

As a playwright who happens to be gay, I often despair that I'll never be successful unless I can work in plenty of nudity.

I pray to be proven wrong.

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