So tonight my epic journey into week two, of the theatre of the gay continued. Yet again, I was the bright-eyed volunteer bunny (who is smiling and being pleasant to the public, solely for the good of humanity – and not for any base reason like seeing theatre shows gratis.)
This evening was in Players in Trinity once again. My presence at the venue, involved some wheeling and dealing on my part. I was originally scheduled to be at an different festival location. However considering the nature of the shows on in Players this week, I thought it wiser to attend sooner rather than later – I couldn’t run the risk of the paying public preventing me from seeing a performance because it was sold out, now could I?
After my boiled rice and pork, with black pepper sauce meal from Charlie’s on Westmoreland Street, I wended my way through the maze of the Trinity campus to the theatre.
Before the public arrived I busied myself by removing the posters from last week’s programme and replacing them with the shiny, sparkly ones advertising this week’s shows.
The audience descended. And as expected it was sizeable.
The first show was by the King’s Head Theatre in London and was called ‘F*cking Men’ – the asterisk being used here, is not me being polite – that’s how it appears on the poster.
It has a cast of three, all of whom play several roles in scenes that are loosely connected to each other. I suppose you could argue that it’s a gritty portrayal of the sex lives and relationship styles of the urban gay male. It involves lashings of nudity. And it is very amusing and was quire entertaining.
But I found it just a little bit clichéd. The younger characters were invariably young and poor and gorgeous and studly and misunderstood and sensitive, and who have to turn tricks to survive, but who in reality are innocents in a cold hard world and are really just looking for love. The older characters are wealthy, attractive and jaded, having given up on love but who find redemption in the innocence of the younger rent boy.
Now this is an entertaining plot device but hardly representative of the gay world as a whole. Or perhaps I’m not hanging out with the right people. It would have been more interesting to maybe have included an unattractive, overweight young character? Or an unsuccessful, poor older character? Then again, when the poster features two hot guys in speedos, I suppose the show delivered what it advertised.
The second show was stronger – ‘5 Guys Chillin’ – again by the King’s Head Theatre. This is a show that I saw in London last October. This was before I found gainful employment, and while I was looking to see a show while on a weekend break in London, I wasn’t prepared to mortgage my left kidney to pay a West End price for a ticket, so decided on this show instead.
It’s about the ‘chillout’ scene in London – which is an exploration of the chemsex subculture, where groups of urban gay males meet online, gather at each other’s homes, take loadsadrugs and fornicate to their heart’s content.
Except of course it’s a bit more complicated than that – this scene has been blamed for the increase in HIV infections and addictions in the community – the drugs lowering inhibitions and leading to unsafe behaviour.
It was hilarious and far more shocking than the previous show. This scene is apparently not mainstream, but it painted a very bleak picture of a nihilistic, self-hating, reckless scene, where people are just commodities, judged entirely on looks or race or the drugs they possess, to be discarded when their use has expired.
It involved quire a few hand to mouth ‘I can’t believe he said that’ moments and I laughed like a drain on many occasions but ultimately it was very sad and pessimistic, and quite depressing.
Absolutely worth seeing however.
Tomorrow night I am in the Teacher’s Club.