Fringe Theatre Company Presents SETTING THE RECORD GAY, Also Available on Hulu
Are there any gay topics that actor/writer Leon Acord hasn't already covered in his popular gay web series Old Dogs & New Tricks?
"Oh, there are lots of them," laughs Acord. "That's one reason I really wanted to do this play!"
"This play" is Setting the Record Gay, currently running through July 13 at the Avery Schreiber Theatre in North Hollywood, in which four gay men of different generations discuss how their "Gay Rites of Passage" have changed over the decades. The cast includes Misha Fisher, Wenzel Jones and Billy Walker.
Written by the actors about their own real-life experiences, and directed by Dodd, the play hopes to explode some stereotypes and misperceptions about being gay. Under the guise of teaching a class called "Homo 101," and set in a hot-pink "classroom," the cast discusses coming out, love, sex, "the first time," marriage and the lack of gay role models, among many other topics.
"For a period of three months, Dodd gave us weekly writing assignments, about coming out, our feelings about gay life, the things we loved about being gay, and the things we weren't so crazy about," says Acord. "He took our writings and interwove our stories. The result is a hilarious, high-energy show with lots of laughs, audience interaction, some improv, but a bit of pathos as well."
"I get to talk about those precious few months before AIDS came along, as well as many topics I'm passionate about, including my recent experiences with closet cases in Hollywood!"
Did Acord's new-found status of "elder statesman of all things queer," the result of Old Dogs & New Tricks, land him the gig?
"Actually, no! Dodd saw me playing Quentin Crisp in Carved in Stonein 2009, and said that he'd wanted to work with me ever since!," says Acord. "He called while we were shooting our third season, and asked if I'd consider joining the cast. I jumped at the chance, and started rehearsals the weekend after we completed shooting on Old Dogs."
And the cast is finding that they, too, are learning new things about the gay experience.
"I have to say, I'm a bit shocked to learn how little has changed. In fact, it seems things have gotten more difficult for younger generations of gays, not just because of AIDS, but also the internet, and the pressure now to confirm to "straight ideals" and get married!"
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door, or on the theatre company's website www.fringetheatreco.com. Meanwhile, the third season of Old Dogs & New Tricks, featuring guest stars Rutanya Alda, Mo Gaffney and Kathryn Leigh Scott, premieres this fall. The first two sessions can be seen on Hulu or purchased on DVD from Wolfe Video.