Magazine article American Theatre

Ridiculously Radical

Magazine article American Theatre

Ridiculously Radical

Article excerpt

Charles Ludlam, who once said he was no good unless doing three things at once, would appreciate this summer's Ridicufest. The widely admired director, writer, performer and artistic director of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company is being honored--along with other creators of the Ridiculous aesthetic--in an eleven-production, two-venue, month-long festival produced by New York's Lower East Side company Todo con Nada.

Downtown director and performer Tim Cusack, who is curating the event, said the festival, which runs through July 23, was originally going to include only Ludlam's work--"but I was interested in looking at him in the context of his artistic community. Ludlam was the Shakespeare of New York gay bohemia in the '70s and '80s. But if you're going to do a festival of Elizabethan theatre and only do Shakespeare, then you're ignoring Marlowe, who influenced him, and Ford, who was influenced by him."

As a result, New York audiences can choose between a plethora of Ridiculous-inspired events. Full productions include Ronald Tavel's Shower and The Life of Juanita Castro, two Charles Busch plays, the new House/Wives (a splicing-together of A Doll's House and The Stepford Wives), two plays by contemporary playwright Todd Miller, works written by the late drag performer Ethyl Eichelberger and latenight stagings of performance artist/filmmaker Jack Smith's essays. There will also be a symposium on Ludlam and the Ridiculous aesthetic moderated by David Kaufman, theatre critic for the Daily News. …

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