Staging Gay Lives: An Anthology of Contemporary Gay Theater

Staging Gay Lives: An Anthology of Contemporary Gay Theater

Staging Gay Lives: An Anthology of Contemporary Gay Theater

Staging Gay Lives: An Anthology of Contemporary Gay Theater

Synopsis

Created for general and scholarly audiences alike, this volume offers ten of the best recent plays by and about gay men, all of which have been successfully produced and critically acclaimed in the United States and England. The playwrights, who reflect multicultural origins ranging from Anglo to African American and Latino, have crafted powerful and insightful depictions of the roles gay men play in gender politics. Each play is explosive, politically and socially relevant, and enlightening, whether it be Martin Sherman's much-praised A Madhouse in Goa or the avante-garde Pomo Afro Homos' Dark Fruit. The first to offer such a diversity of voices, this collection also crosses generational borders. Included are two of the first and most important modern gay playwrights- Martin Sherman and Peter Gill- as well as exciting younger dramatists who have emerged in the "gay nineties."Illustrating the sexual politics and events that have swirled through mainstream society since the Stonewall rebellion in the 1960s- AIDS, homophobia, transgendering, discrimination, violence- these plays offer essential and direct articulation of the human lives involved. Each of these plays in its own unique way deeply investigates the pain, sorrow, joy, and beauty of being gay in a predominantly heterosexual world.

Excerpt

Tony Kushner

Queer Nation, a group born out of act up and the aids militant movement but concerned primarily with issues of lesbian and gay enfranchisement and power, used to have a slogan: We're here, we're queer, we're fabulous, get used to it. Fabulous became a popular word in the queer community—well, it was never unpopular, but for a while it became a battle cry of a new queer politics, carnival and camp, aggressively fruity, celebratory and tough like a streetwise drag queen: "faaaaabulo us!" Fabulous was roughly the gay equivalent of that indefinable, ineffable thing young African Americans used to identify as soul, and later perhaps as badness and def and phat, and which Jews identify as menschlichkeit. If you possess it, you don't need to ask what it is. When you attempt to delineate it, you move away from it. Fabulous is one of those words that provide a measure of the degree to which a person or event manifests a particular, usually oppressed, subculture's most distinctive, invigorating features.

What are the salient features of Fabulousness? Irony. Tragic history. Defiance. Gender-fuck. Glitter. Drama. It is not butch. It is not hot. the cathexis surrounding Fabulousness is not necessarily erotic. the Fabulous is not delimited by age or beauty. Style has a dialectical relationship to physical reality. the body is the Real. Style is Theater. the raw materials are reworked into illusion. For style to be truly fabulous, one must completely triumph over tragedy, age, physical insufficiencies—and just as importantly, one's audiences must be made aware of the degree of transcendence, of triumph; must see both the triumph and that over which the triumph has been made. (In this the magic of the Fabulous is precisely the magic of the theater. the wires show. the illusion is always incomplete, inadequate; the work behind the magic is meant to be appreciated.)

Gay theater artists, including the talented writers of this volume, are collectively shaping the next chapter in the history of American gay theater, which has at times been inseparable from the history of American theater in its entirety and which is now becoming increasingly distinct. Our great antecedent is Charles Ludlam, who died of aids in the early '80s and who was, in addition to being the funniest man . . .

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