Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013-02-22 Topher Payne's Angry Fags

As many of you already know, I've been on team 7 Stages since I was hired to be the stage manager for Dracula: The Rock Opera almost a year ago.  Since then I have been honored to work with some amazing Atlanta artists and gotten to see some amazing shows.  This past weekend was the World Premiere of Angry Fags written by Topher Payne.  Yes, it deals with some very serious issues such as terrorism, equality and what it means to start a revolution.  It also deals with love, compassion, revenge, bath house fluffing, Steal Magnolia's and the importance of Julia Sugarbaker.  Everything you would expect and love from the Atlanta gay community.  They're here, they're queer and they're not going to take it anymore!

Topher Payne's script was amazingly well written.  The comedy was gold and the emotions were intense.  The inappropriate humor secured this play as being one of my new favorite black comedies.  There were multiple moments during the show that the words were so at odds with what was happening, these times made it seem darker and more real.  The nervous chuckle you accidentally let slip as the body count climbs and shivers stroll down your spine to keep you in the moment, it's that awkwardness that we have all felt when you have tried to not laugh during a moment of silence or cracked a joke at a funeral.  It constantly walked the line of good taste and occasionally blurred it in way that made you safely uncomfortable so you could really understand the message of the play, we're all people and we all deserve to be happy.

Jacob York gave an amazing performance as Bennett Riggs, the political savvy executive with a job as a political speech writer for the first lesbian state senator.  It is the lead, and hardest, role in the show with a full gambit of emotional trials and tribulations.  The most touching scene was in the hospital room, I don't want to give too much away, but the soliloquy he gave was heart felt, touching and chilling to the bone with it's love, sadness and sincerity. Bennett was often the straight man for Cooper Harlow, Bennett's flamboyant and fabulous roommate.  Cooper, played by Johnny Drago, was the stereotype gone commando.  Cooper was full of life, dreams and a rage that is beyond the average bitchy queen.  Cooper embodies the anger of the oppressed who only want to be looked at as equals and are stick of fighting to be treated like real people.  The entire cast was amazing; you hate who you're supposed to, love who you're supposed to and have mixed feelings at all the right moments.  The set was this amazing, modular alter to media that showed the importantance of political spin during what should be personal, intimate periods.  It was a series of amazing moments which kept me on the edge of my seat and I often found myself alternatively holding my breathe with concern and gasping for air between laughs.  The show runs through March 17th, I HIGHLY recommend everyone go to see Angry Fags before it disappears.

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