As Dublin City prepares for the upcoming 16th annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, GCN takes a dive into the programme and speaks to some of the incredible shows winging their way to Ireland.
Velvet, a play that follows the story of a young actor who get into an inappropriate relationship with a senior industry figure, comes to the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival from the UK. Playwright Tom Ratcliffe told us about the inspiration for the show.
“I would be lying if I sat here and said that Velvet was not derived from some of my personal experiences I’ve had whilst working as a young gay man within the industry. We obviously saw in the 2017 #MeToo movement that these unwanted advances and career bribes have been incredibly prevalent for women working within the entertainment industry, but this is something that gay men certainly experience as well. This isn’t something, apart from the Kevin Spacey claims, which has been widely reported in the media.
“Of course the prospect of turning something I’m essentially incredibly embarrassed and ashamed of into a huge positive and fantastic opportunity for my career was a significant part of what influenced and empowered me to write Velvet.
“Audiences can expect an incredibly fast paced show; to laugh and maybe shed a little tear (if I do my job well!). The audience will hopefully take away a broader understanding of how these situations arise; with much more depth and colour than simply good and evil or victim and perpetrator. People can also expect their perceptions to be challenged and to, hopefully, be gripped from start to finish. It’s definitely a bit of a thriller.”
GERTRUDE STEIN AND COMPANION
Visiting the Gay Theatre Festival from South Africa, Gertrude Stein And Companion from the Gottaluvit company looks at the extraordinary relationship between the writer Gertrude Stein and her long-time companion Alice b Toklas. Actress Lynita Crofford told us about the show’s journey.
“I had just completed filming on The Wedding Party 2 and was dying to do some theatre work again. So I started looking around for a play with interesting and substantial roles for women and a friend mentioned the show and suggested I should play the role of Alice B Toklas.
“After reading the play and loving it, I immediately contacted director Christopher Weare whom I’d worked with before and who is passionate about giving women’s stories a platform and got him on board. I then persuaded my best friend, Shirley Johnston, that she would make the perfect Gertrude Stein. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“Audiences will be transported to the avant-garde world of Paris during the last century through the use of music and projections and follow the tender love story of two eccentric women way ahead of their time.
“None of us have ever been to Ireland before and we are very excited to be travelling to Dublin. Personally I can’t wait to see your beautiful country that I’ve heard so much about.”
A SOUTHERN FAIRYTALE
Writer and performer Ty Autry brings his story of a gay Christian growing up in the Deep South to Dublin from the US. So where did the idea for A Southern Fairytale come from?
“My inspiration started with my mentor, Alex Bond, who told me before she passed away that I should write down my story because people needed to hear this journey. I took it upon myself to look at my past and my adventures of growing up in the Deep South part of Georgia and create this fictional character who takes a similar path to mine. His journey with faith and queer identity is a struggle a lot of us have had or continue to have today.
“I’m hoping, dreaming, wishing, that people take away the level of impact our words have on others in our lives. Alex Belmont’s journey is marked by what people told him. I remember what people said to me after every single time I came out of the closet, and yes, I came out of the closet three different times. Talk about a journey!
“The audience can expect to go through a full range of emotions while watching. It’s a sassy queer show full of humor, but I also don’t hold back my punches at showcasing the damage done by a community that was supposed to protect me. At the same time, proving that forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal.”
THE MEASURE OF A MAN
Gavin Roach will travel from Australia to make his International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival debut with his one-man show The Measure Of A Man. He described to us how the show came to life.
“I started writing the work about six years ago, after noticing a lack of honesty in the way I would talk about my sexual encounters. There was a great deal of shame and embarrassment that I felt, because the truth was, I had always felt incredibly anxious when it came to sex and conscious of the fact that there was an expectation that I needed to live up to.
“I didn’t know who to talk to, nor did I even have the words to start a conversation, but I knew that I had to say something. I needed to talk about how I felt, both mentally and physically, so of course I started the conversation the only way I know how – by putting my story up on the stage for all to see.
“The show is a roller-coaster, dipping and weaving through hilarious highs and sudden lows. I truly think there is something in the story that everyone can connect with. Whether that be the humour, the honesty, the depiction of anxiety or the appeal of watching me dance around on stage in my underwear – there is never a dull moment.”
The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival takes place from May 6 – 19, for more information and to book tickets visit them here.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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