Here's why you should watch Jonathan Wysocki's film Dramarama at GAZE 2021 

Gay director fictionalises his own coming out story for the big screen.

Three teenagers dressed in quirky clothes

If you haven’t been to a Victorian murder mystery party lately, Jonathan Wysocki’s indie feature film debut Dramarama will transport you.

Screening at IFI as part of the GAZE Film Festival 2021, this coming-of-age queer tale will premiere in Ireland on Saturday October 2 at 15:45.

Until now, the California writer, producer, and director was best known for his queer-themed, award-winning shorts A Doll’s Eyes and Adjust-a-Dream. Now that Dramarama is screening at GAZE, Wysocki’s special genius undoubtedly will resonate with Ireland’s LGBTQ+ audience.

Here are nine good reasons to curl up with this feel-good flick:

  • Would a group of high school theatre kids ever seriously entertain a boring going-away party for themselves? Simply put, no. Therefore, they stage a Victorian murder mystery party on the eve of their high school graduation. While the movie is set in 1994, each of the five main characters steps into a timeless role for the occasion.


  • The main characters are Rose, Allie, Claire, Oscar, and Gene. Respectively, they play the parts of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, Mina Harker from Dracula, Alice from Through the Looking-Glass, Sherlock Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels, and Dr. Henry Jekyll of Robert Louis Stevenson’s imagination. Logical choices all, and inspired ones, too.


  • In the opening scene, Gene stands in his underwear staring at himself in the mirror. He’s practicing his lines for coming out to his friends. It won’t be the last time we see Gene gazing at his own reflection.


  • A sixth character, JD, shows up with pizza. A word game ensues, in which JD announces how he would describe each of the other characters in a single word. You can guess who he thinks is “clandestine,” “beguiling,” “grandiloquent,” “puritanical,” and “callow.”


  • Throughout Dramarama, there are many references to other movies. These include Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Heathers, Princess Bride, and Reality Bites. Later, the characters refer to movies with LGBTQ+ subplots such as Fried Green Tomatoes and Madonna: Truth or Dare.


  • There are also references to the Theatre, most notably Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and The Glass Menagerie.


  • The “flashlight homosexual” scene is staged in Rose’s parents’ bedroom. It involves turning off the lights while different dyads act out same-sex scenes on the bed. When Claire asks no one in particular, “Why are they so good at it?” Gene replies, “It’s because they read vampire lit.”


  • The teenage characters talk about religion, dating, premarital sex, abortion, and their theatrical dreams. They are a tight-knit circle of friends on the cusp of their adult lives, and we never see an actual adult’s face in the entire movie.


  • The airport scene feels ancient, even if the film only takes place in 1994. That’s because a vintage Vivitar camera makes an appearance, to document the penultimate scene.

Jonathan Wysocki’s feature film Dramarama is an American period piece with a universal, timeless message… and it’s coming to Irish audiences in less than one week!

Tickets are available here and we encourage you to check out the work of this incredible filmmaker whose future is bright because he understands his past.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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