Affecting work.. "Affecting Work" is a term from the roots of radical theatre : long ago in the age of body work, physical involvement sometimes with text and sometimes just action that gave the audience an opportunity to be viscerally involved with theatre.
"Bisexual Sadness" with a pinkish visual .. an upside down "i" and the 'x' out of kilter denotes the specific feelings of india kotis's (sic) play.
Social media and the immediacy of Ecommunication has led our culture into an ever spiraling morass of language and self diagnosis in terms of gender and sexuality that has (in the voices of Karen and Richard Carpenter) 'only just begun'..
The physical discomfort and mental anguish in this World Premiere, creatively staged by Carlyle King, is palpable. Each character is well presented: over played and under played and each and all in the 'same play.' It's a pleasure to use that description of the players, as from time to time, an actor might be so out of bounds that it makes the production dissolve.
When NoHo's The Road Theatre on Magnolia takes on a play to produce, fact is that it will be either entertaining or challenging or both. In this case, it's a toss up. There's a lot of drama! Playwright india kotis (sic) lays out the story of a woman, FAYE (Tiffany Wolff) a medical doctor, who has been left behind.. so to speak from a long term 'relationship' with a self described 'masculine ish.. woman: GENEVIEVE (Alaska Jackson). But! Gen and Faye remain the best of friends. Faye, in the first scene is trying on a wedding dress to wear for her marriage to ALEX (Brian
Graves), a "sensitive and open guy" who is a teacher in a pre-school. Factor in poor MIRANDA (Karrie King), Faye's elder sister, who has been deserted by the father of her 'kid' NAOMI (Gloria Ines) (see below *) for a 24 year old floozy. Miranda is in the depths of depression. Pot helps but stinks as she heads up the aisle.
And..and.. what about Lillian (Andrea Flowers), the arealist? Pansexual? wow.
I thought she should be Blonde.
Bisexual Sadness is a play with more questions than answers. Somehow that seems to be okay. Perhaps it may be because we: our western society, is now faced with decisions regarding which pronouns WE choose to be addressed by. If we present as a female, but identify by self diagnosis to be not so female-ish.. no longer are we she / her, but "they/them." Ditto for males. And. with the influence of social media and self diagnosis and confusion because one's head says one thing and my itchy parts say something else and the depression that comes with the confusion of it all: whom to love? how to love? whom to marry??? becomes a friggin' conundrum? Faye, in her honest mental state longs for flamboyant full sleeve shoulder tattoos and a white sidewall haircut? Men and Women and Boys and Girls.. and all others... Others.. this is the upsetting confusion facing some of these complex characters, save for the Canadian Arealist who just flies as she pleases leaving everyone unapologeically in the dust.
*Thus.. we find Naomi, a slightly sullen, more or less 'butch' kid opting to be called they/them and fuming if a grammatical slip is made. "Hers"(says me!) is self imposed 'theyness. (Gloria Ines presented with her hair down and very femme at the curain call.) It seems to me that this gender fluid dance is getting the best of me, even though I sort of understand. Still, I feel most comfortable.. important to me.. to know what brand of human being I'm dealing with. I'll hold the door for anyone, but out of habit especially for a woman..or a person who presents as a woman ..even in pants.
Like having a tiny pebble in your shoe that is just a little bit annoying because one must remember the right words. That's annoying. Just uncomfortable and annoying. Kotis does not resolve Naomi's case and as Faye flat out tells her husband-to-be words he should be very troubled by, he shrugs off any discomfort he may have in the name of love.
Director King has a plan and her staging works on The Road's gorgeous set design. It's an important peek into a new horizon of our society. The LGBTQ (I still have a tough time with the word Queer) community is on the rise thanks to flash mob connections via E media. Self diagnosis easily emerges for those who are learning that there are options for how to present themselves in society with less and less fear of being judged. Be who you are!? But, who are you? Who am I? Koo koo ka chooo.
The audience for the opening of this show was a riot of color. The rainbow that represents 'choice' now for sexual preference is slowly and brightly being unfurled. This play may be a stepping stone to Identity for those who find that it is time to examine how they really truly feel. I'd suggest talk backs for special audiences.
Two casts give audiences an opportunity to possibly consume a double dose of learning.. Make no mistake, the underlying theme is about life lessons and possibly finding a role model for how to be happy in this new age of wonky grammar. Uncomfortable pronouns and love. Ultimately, it's really about love.
Edna St. Vincent Millay Cast:
Faye Tiffany Wolff
Genevieve Alaska Jackson
Alex Brian Graves
Miranda Karrie King
Naomi Gloria Ines
Lillian Andrea Flowers
by india kotis (sic)
Directed by Carlyle King
10747 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA
Sunday Performances Pay-What-You-Can