Exploring questions of identity with 'A Local Boy'

London playwright Dan Murphy draws on his hometown of Romford to tackle some big themes with his bold debut production.

A Local Boy is a new play written by London playwrite Dan Murphy

Photo by Gareth Johnson.

The satellite town of Romford is where Dan Murphy grew up, and it is also the setting for his debut play A Local Boy.

For his debut work, Murphy has presented a play about identity, relationships, and the anger that smoulders when we feel like we don’t belong.

Produced by Invertigo theatre company and staged at the Pleasance theatre in Islington, London, this is a sparse, cleverly constructed play.

Director Kay Michael guides her strong ensemble cast (Debra Baker, Tim Bowie, Ross McCormack, Bailey Patrick, and Abigail Rose) through a non-linear narrative, moments of time, fragments of conversations captured as short scenes that gradually accumulate to reveal the story and explore the motivations of the characters.

The discovery of a body, a mother worried about her son, a blossoming romance played out over social media.

Speaking with Murphy after the show, he seemed relieved that it was over, that it had gone well, that everyone had liked it.

‘It was an opportunity to explore questions of identity’ he explained, ‘…and also what happens when someone steals your identity.’

One of the strengths of the play is the sharp, cracking dialogue effortlessly delivered by the characters.

‘We were lucky to be able to cast actors who were pretty much from East London and Essex, so they were really able to deliver the dialogue authentically’ acknowledged Murphy.

A Local Boy concludes with a meditative refection on life, love, and growing up in a crazy, mixed-up world in which most of us somehow manage to muddle through.

At a time when identity seems to be becoming an increasingly fluid and emotive concept, Murphy may not have all of the answers but he’s clearly making a powerful contribution to the conversation with A Local Boy.

Crowd Funding link

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/exploring-questions-identity-local-boy190215#sthash.QCFfIFl1.dpuf

The Glass Protége

The Glass Protégé to debut this April

A story of forbidden gay lovers…

The Glass Protégé by Dylan Costello, a dark drama makes its UK debut this April. The play, directed by Matthew Gould will open at the award-winning Park Theatre on April 14th.

The play takes place in Hollywood, 1949 at a time when studio bosses held absolute power and movie stars were used as pawns. A young British actor, Patrick Glass becomes involved in a homosexual love affair with a famous co-star and as a result feels the career-destroying force of a one of these powerful studios.

Forty years later the past comes to light and the consequences of this forbidden love affair are revealed.

Costello’s other plays include Fresh Meat, Secret Boulevard and Hello. His short film Edge of Existence was shown to world leaders at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December 2009 and his screenplay Coronado won in the PAGE international Screenwriting Contest in Hollywood and is currently being produced by Polaris Productions, filming is to start in 2015.

The play debuts in the UK after a 6 week run in Chicago. The play contains strong language and scenes of nudity and is suitable for a 16+ audience.

Words Ryan Smith, gtdigi.co.uk from just
£2.99/$3.99.

The Boys In The Band

 

Time remembers the seminal stage play and film “The Boys in The Band”, which made its film debut 45 years ago on 17 March 1970, making history because it was one of the first American films to focus on gay characters. Adapted from Mart Crowley’s 1968 off-Broadway play, and directed by William Friedkin, the movie, funded by the CBS television network, was a candid illustration of gay life in New York at the time, and its’ realism helped it succeed.

The original 1968 Off-Broadway, New York stage cast and production | Unknown photographer | San Francisco Sentinel | 15052

The film featured Kenneth Nelson, Leonard Frey, Cliff Gorman, Frederick Combs, Keith Prentice, Robert La Tourneaux, Reuben Greene, Peter White, Maud Adams and Elaine Kaufman (the last two uncredited on the movie titles).

Sascha Cohen puts the film into context:

To the generation of gay Americans who came of age amidst the positive imagery of the contemporary LGBT rights movement — pride, love, rainbows and the message that “It Gets Better” — the plight of these men can look unrecognizable. With its bitter angst and grim outlook (the film’s most famous line is “show me a happy homosexual and I’ll show you a gay corpse”) The Boys in the Band feels like something of a relic.

But in 1970, it was a milestone for gay representation in Hollywood. For decades, homosexuality did not appear onscreen at all; the 1930 Motion Picture Production Code, enforced until 1968, prohibited the portrayal of “sex perversion.” Although a handful of characters from classic films — Plato in Rebel Without a Cause, the “sissy” cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz and the murderous aesthetes in Hitchcock’s Rope — managed to slip past the censors, those who would interpret such figures as gay are stuck reading subtext. In The Boys in the Band, on the other hand, gay desire and identity are explicit; each character announces his presence as a “fairy” or a “queen.” The film helped make the gay community culturally visible during a moment in which openly discussing homosexuality was still taboo, and many Americans had yet to encounter an “out” gay man in person.

Mart Crowley’s commented, “What did I have to lose?” to explain how a fey Hollywood failure wrote the play in a week, won a five-day workshop way off-off Broadway that turned into the event absolutely Everybody Had to See, then turned down big Tinsel town money to insist the 1970 film be made with its original, very brave, cast of unknowns,

wrote Seán Martinfield of the San Francisco Sentinel, reviewing the event “The Making of The Boys” which took place at San Francisco’s 33rd Frameline Film Festival, in an undated article.

Two Male Dancers Break Your Heart With Their Muscular Bodies

Posted: Updated:

 

Two male dancers express what it is to be in love and then…

For most of us, the aftermath of a breakup involves a pint of ice cream and a box of tissues. For those of us who possess talent in the realm of dance, however, heartbreak sometimes leads to higher artistic outpouring.

Allow CODECdance to show you what we mean. In the short film below, the New York-based multidisciplinary dance company shows what happens in those final moments when a relationship fades into oblivion — well, at least for those of us who engage in serious choreography with our romantic partners.

Cry it out, people. And get more ballet fixes here, here, here and here.

The White, the Gold and the Gangrene

The White, the Gold and the Gangrene

Terry Eagleton

Dubbeljoint Theatre Company

Old Museum Arts Centre

 

(Reprinted from upstart April 1993)

 

This oddly named play is about James Connolly’s last few hours in the condemned cell.  The greater part of the talk – there is very little action other than Connolly (Tim Loane) hobbling about the cell or being forced to crawl about it by two warders.

These latter are given to high talk, gnomic utterances and aimless cruelty.  Given that “Connolly” appears for much of the play to be deep in untroubled sleep one might feel more sorry for their plight than for Connolly’s: he is going to fulfil his destiny.  They represent a world that is passing; at least that is what they say – at great length.

Eagleton has in the past in Saint Oscar and the novel Saints and Scholars messed about with chronology.  Here he has Connolly receiving letters from one V I Lenin in charge in Moscow – more than a year before he arrived there!  And from W B Yeats, offering to become “Fuhrer”.  Yeats’s ghost is treated to severe abuse; he deserves it for calling Thomas Moore a “cringing firblog”.

There’s a lot of surface glitter in this play, but little depth.  Sitting through it does not enhance one’s life.  I felt a riot coming on!  Eagleton insults nearly all the rest of the 1916 leaders, Pearse coming in for a good deal of condemnation – naturally enough.  (not to mention some rather off-colour remarks about his alleged sexuality, plus an unpleasant pantomime presumably sanctioned by Eagleton and the producer Pam Brighton which I found offensive and gratuitously anti-Gay).  Although it is all from the Warders, McDaid (Dan Gordon), implicitly a Prod, and Mather (Anthony Brophy) a genuine cringing firbolg, Connolly never puts another point of view.  McDaid is given a fair number of good speeches attacking what the insurgents in Dublin were up to in Easter Week.

This play says more about Eagleton, than it does about James Connolly.  A piece in the programme describes Connolly as “…Ireland’s greatest socialist theorist and organiser.”.  At the end of the action Connolly simply vanishes, not unlike a certain [other] JC, who is supposed to have vanished from a tomb around about Easter.

This play was written for people who can spot the smart-alecky references peppering the text, who may be the same people who roared at every crude word and gesture at the OMAC.  It’s a bad play, the language while quite funny in parts, does not illuminate anything.  The production was pared down to the minimum, throwing all weight onto the text, which collapsed under the pressure into “more words”.

Eagleton the lapsed Marxist attempted to make his play relevant to a living political situation by having them performed on the Falls Road – and Hampstead, among other places.  Judging by the deafening silence after the circus left town, the Falls wasn’t impressed; neither was I.  The constant references to homosexuality in Eagleton’s texts is nearer in spirit to the semi-pornographic sensationalist pulp fiction of the 1940s, ‘50s and early ‘60s than to the post-Gay Liberation idea of a “Gay sensibility”.

 

Reviewer:  SMC

Theatre Review: The Glass Protégé

Post-Show Panel with the Kaleidoscope Trust

April 28, 2015, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP

The Kaleidoscope Trust is hosting a panel discussion as part of a special show of the Glass Protégé, a powerful drama written by Dylan Costello.

 

The play is set in Hollywood in 1949 – a time when passion was lauded but sex never discussed. So when young British actor Patrick Glass embarks on a scandalous gay love affair with his famous co-star Jackson Harper, he starts to feel the full force of the studio’s career-destroying muscle. Forty years later, as the truths of the past are uncovered, the true consequences of this ‘unacceptable’ romance come to light.

On 28th April the Kaleidoscope Trust is hosting a post-show panel and Q&A session to discuss themes arising from the play and how discrimination continues to affect LGBT people across the world. The panel will feature Peter Tatchell, prominent human rights campaigner, Reverend Jide Macaulay, British-Nigerian founder of the House Of Rainbow Fellowship and Trustee of the Kaleidoscope Trust, and some of the play’s cast and production team.

 

The play is produced by Giant Cherry Productions, set up to bring a wave of new LGBT productions to the global film, theatre and television scene

 Cast

Patrick | David R. Butler

George | Stephen Connery-Brown

Jackson | Alexander Hulme

Pat | Paul Lavers

Candice | Emily Loomes

Lloyd | Rob Maloney

Ava | Sheena May

Nella | Mary Stewart

Creatives

Playwright | Dylan Costello

Director | Matthew Gould

Producer | Giant Cherry Productions

Costume Designer | Jean Gray

Lighting Designer | Joshua Sung

Stage Manager | Ella Saunders

Venue / Ticket Information

Dates

Previews: 14 Apr 2015
Press Night: 15 Apr 2015 (7pm)
Plays until: 9 May 2015

Tickets are available from the Park Theatre. Supporters of the Kaleidoscope Trust can use the promocode KT15 to redeem a discount for the special show when booking online.

 

Please Note: Over 16s only.  Contains strong language and scenes of full frontal male nudity.

 

The Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, London N4 3JP
020 7870 6876

Russian State Ballet Company of Siberia – The Nutcracker

I love music in just about any form – jazz, classical, pop, big band, opera, ballet – they all have their place on my music shelf.

I also love the theatre, and the nuances that you pick up from a live performance, and of course opera which combines music and live acting performances.

But until last month, whilst I loved ballet music, and have watched numerous performances on television, I had not been grabbed by ballet.  But this changed.  Last month I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s performance of ‘The Nurcracker’ in the Belfast Opera House.  This is a young but not inexperienced ballet company, who are presently touring the UK with four ballets; The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, La Fille mal gardee, Coppelia.

As I have said, I was lucky enough to see The Nutcracker on Friday night [23 January 2015].  The theatre was packed, indeed I saw one baby their with its parents – and it didn’t cry once.

The sets and costumes by Christina Fyodorova, are bright and well suited to each of the performers and different points of the story.  And Anatoliy Chepurnoy’s conducting of both the orchestra and his interaction with the audience was wonderful.

 

The accompanying booklet is lavish, beautifully produced and covers all four ballets, and is well worth the purchase price.

I am now a convert to live ballet, particularly if it keeps with the very high standard that this ballet company has produced.  I for one will be looking forward to their return – the sooner the better.