Monday, February 21, 2011

"My Scandalous Life" - An intimate, if not always telling, portrait of a cipher

Review by Judd Hollander
Photo by Carol Rosegg
Cross-posted from

How often is a person defined by a single situation? Take the case of one Lord Alfred Douglas (Des Keogh), known as Bosie to his friends. A poet who, more than 40 years after being involved in an affair with Oscar Wilde, (the story is set in 1944 England), finds himself still mainly known for that one period in his life. "It’s all anyone seems to want to talk about," he mutters at the beginning of Thomas Kilroy's My Scandalous Life, which looks at what has become of Bosie after the Wilde days.

On this particular night, when his long-estranged wife Olive is dying upstairs and the sounds of war can be heard overhead, Bosie looks back on his long and litigious history both as plaintiff and defendant in various libel trials, trying to state his case and set the record(s) straight. No matter how hard he tries to steer the conversation elsewhere, however, Wilde’s name keeps coming up, along with Bosie’s own failings, even though he refuses to admit them. Bosie also discusses his marriage and where that went wrong, as well as his former predilection to homosexuality (He’s remained chaste for over 30 years). He also talks about what happened to his son, who was committed to an asylum at age 25.

Bosie, as brilliantly portrayed by Keogh, is a study in contradictions. He despises his wife’s Irish maid Eileen (Fiana Toibin), feeling she acts too much at ease with him for a servant, yet relies on her more and more as time goes on. He is also a proud and aristocratic man, but at the same time, a weakling and a coward. He wants to be a good father to his son, but is unable to make the effort needed to do so. Keogh does a good job at showing both the humility and complexity of Bosie, a man from a fading, bygone era, who is adrift in a changing world.

Not a comedy in any sense of the word, Keogh and Kilroy do manage to toss in various flourishes of humor along the way, giving Bosie a sort of old reprobate status at times. There’s also a terrible loneliness about this man who continually waits for people to visit him, people who will never come and who probably regard him as a sort of embarrassment (there’s one moment, towards the end of act two where Boise realizes the truth about himself and is crushed by what he sees). In Keogh’s hands Bosie is a rather intriguing individual with a lot of stories to tell, though perhaps too colored with his own perceptions for any of what he says to fully ring true.

Toibin is fine as Eileen, a caring women often running around in tears, yet very devoted to her dying mistress. One has the feeling it won’t be long before she also becomes Bosie’s confidante, something he desperately needs. At least before things get too rough, and he reverts to the master-servant relationship to hide behind, along with continually quoting the different poetry he has written over the years.

There are certainly possibilities here, but unfortunately what’s lacking is enough information to make the play really take hold. Bosie as a character is nicely defined, but there are numerous references to historical incidents, such as various libel suits, that could have been explored further. Bosie talks as if everyone knows what’s going on, a dangerous assumption by the playwright, even if one has the program notes (which are incomplete) to follow along with. It would have been nice to know, for example, how Bosie became bankrupt and how well his poetry was publicly and critically received.

Direction by John Going works nicely, with Charlie Corcoran's set filling the venue's downstairs space very well. Costumes by David Toser are fine, and the lighting by Michael O'Connor is good. The sound effects by Zachary Williamson are quite effective.

My Scandalous Life, while not perfect, shines an intriguing light on a sort of overlooked player in theatrical and literary history. (Even in the close of this review, Douglas is still linked with Wilde. Bosie would have probably hated that.)

My Scandalous Life
By Thomas Kilroy
Directed by John Going
Set Design: Charlie Corcoran
Costume Design: David Toser
Lighting Design: Michael O'Connor
Sound Design: Zachary Williamson
Production Stage Manager: Michael Palmer

With: Des Keogh (Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas), Eileen (Fiana Toibin)

Irish Repertory Theatre
W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre (downstairs space)
132 West 22nd Street

Tickets: 212-727-2737 or

Running Time: 2 Hours

Closes: March 6, 2011

FRIGID New York Interview - Tania Katan of "Saving Tania's Privates"

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Angela Ellsworth
Cross-posted from

Name: Tania Katan
Show: Saving Tania’s Privates
Website: &

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Like most people, I got cancer. Isn’t that how it works? You get sick and you either find religion or art. Thank fucking God I found art!

Who are your biggest influences?

Gilda Radner, Tracey Ullman, Harry Chapin, Holly Hughes, Bob Flanagan, Sandra Bernhard, The Carter Family, Lisa Kron, Joelle Katan, Elliott Richards, and on and on and on.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Saving Tania’s Privates is like "Run Lola Run" meets "The Singing Detective" and swings by "The L Word" for a cocktail! Lights up, I’m standing onstage being felt up by a male TSA guard. Do I shrink away and comply with his demands, or distract him with a joke and start running? Do I move-in with the brooding dyke who looks like Pony Boy or do I move in with my French mother? Do I opt for chemotherapy and a mastectomy, or radiation and a lumpectomy? Can I race for a cure when I’m not cured? Can my best friend really contract HIV when I still have cancer? Saving Tania’s Privates invites the audience to enter a world where surgeons are ninjas and best friends don’t get AIDS; a world where running topless is legal, disco never dies, and scars are celebrated. It explores whether bad girlfriends can give you cancer and whether good ones can take it away.

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote the book first, a memoir entitled "My One Night Stand With Cancer." Then I realized that this is a story about the body, the sick body, the silly body, the dying body, the living body and yet it was sort of idle inside of a book. Because theatre is such a live and active form of storytelling, it became imperative for me to adapt the book into a play. Although I didn’t have ME in mind to perform the one-woman play — DUH! — I came to realize how important and urgent it is for me to invite an audience to bear witness to my story, to confirm that these events really occurred, and to show them that I am still alive, able to embody this story, visually and textually answering questions that readers of the book continue to ask me.

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with friend/producer: AJ Epstein; friend/Director Carys Kresny, and friend/Co-Producer: Liza Comtois for about three years! My friend/Stage Manager, Emily Reitman is a new addition to STP team and friend/Stage Manager Devorah Spadone handed her the baton. I adore and respect all of the team personally and professionally, which allows for us to go deeper, explore the script and performance more fully, and, honestly, crack each other up A LOT! If we could afford team uniforms, I’m certain we would all wear them, at all times! And, of course, the well-known visual and performance artist, Angela Ellsworth. For some odd reason she has chosen to live with me and be my constant life collaborator. Thank Art!

What's next for you after FRIGID?

Off to Los Angeles to perform a new solo show Thank You and Good Luck, which will explore auditioning for civil rights as I try to become America’s next Lesbian Bachelor on ABC’s reality show "The Bachelor." It will premiere at the 18th Street Art Center as a part of Richard Newton’s project Have You Seen My Privacy through the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time.

Also, I’m working on a second book entitled "A Laugh Riot." It’s about cracking people up while subverting perceptions. Funny activism with serious impact!

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

What you are about to see is a comedy. And like all good comedies, there are many catastrophes within that framework. There are moments when the characters will find themselves in compromised positions, feeling othered and unable to move forward. Sometimes a character will choose to French kiss another character instead of getting a biopsy. Sometimes a character will believe that they are cooler than they are based on alcohol consumption. That is the beauty of humor; humor springs from a place of fear, discomfort, vulnerability, and otherness and yet somehow allows us to feel less fear, discomfort and otherness. My hope is that you will come see Saving Tania’s Privates and witness the acts of falling in love, breaking up, awkward dance moves, hiding in hyper-reality, blown veins, and laughing at inappropriate moments.

Saving Tania's Privates

UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place)


Wed 2/23 @ 7:30pm, Fri 2/25 @ 9pm, Sat 2/26 @ 1pm, Tue 3/1 @ 6pm, Wed 3/2 @ 7:30pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 10pm

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MTWorks' Antonio Miniño to Perform in "All About Valentines" Event

MTWorks' company member Antonio Miniño will be singing at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 East 3rd St. between B and C, Manhattan) on Sunday, February 20th at 7 PM as part of The Fresh Fruit Playhouse and their "All About Valentines" event hosted by Frank F. Calo and Rita Petite.

The line-up also includes performances by Amada Anderson (reading Empress of Sex - 2011 NewBorn Festival), David Vincent Brooks, Knox Bundy, Teresa Fischer, Lady Clover Honey, It's A Little Stormy, Phil Kadet, Evan Laurence, Jed Ryan, Drew Sotomayor, Francisco White and many more.

There will also be a Bachelor/Bachelorette auction and "The Love Game."

Tickets are $10.00

For more information contact
To place your reservaton (highly suggested) visit (and select Feb 20th on the calendar).

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2011 Newborn Festival Starts Today

Maieutic Theatre Works


The 2011 National
NewBorn Festival

4 days of free readings dealing with

Thursday, February 3rd – Sunday, February 6th, 2011



MAIEUTIC THEATRE WORKS is pleased to continue their acclaimed fifth season with their flagship program dedicated to finding emerging playwrights from across the nation, The National NewBorn Festival.

This year's selected playwrights are Jacqueline Goldfinger from Pennsylvania, Rich Rubin from Oregon, Marilynn Barner Anselmi from North Carolina, Duncan Pflaster from New York, and Riti Sachdeva from New Mexico. Kicking off NewBorn will be the resident reading of David Stallings' The ReEducation of Arizona, helmed by resident director Cristina Alicea.

Readings will take place at The City College of New York's North Academic Center (138th Street & Amsterdam, Manhattan), Thursday, February 3rd through Sunday, February 6th.

Each play receives a free reading with the possibility of a second to the recipient of the Audience Favorite Award(announced Saturday, February 5th before midnight on the MTWorks website). Prior to the festival, the MTWorks' board of directors will bestow the first Excellence in Playwriting Award.

Creating a solid ensemble of over 50 remarkable actors including the MTWorks’ Company Actors, The 2011 National NewBorn Festival plays the following schedule through Sunday, February 6th:

Thursday, February 3rd at 6:00pm

by resident playwright David Stallings
directed by resident director Cristina Alicea

A satirical comedy that dissects the trickled down effect of Gov. Jan Brewer's immigration bill in Arizona.

Thursday, February 3rd at 8:30pm

by Jacqueline Goldfinger
directed by Dev Bondarin

A cannibalistic dark comedy about aging, set in a cozy B&B in the South.

Friday, February 4th at 6:00pm

by Rich Rubin
directed by Shelly Feldman

Iraq war veterans create their own island of recovery in this piercing comedic drama.

Friday, February 4th at 8:30pm

by Marilynn Barner Anselmi
directed by Kathleen O'Neill

A lesbian couple grieving the loss of their son seek solace in the Southern family that never accepted them.

Saturday, February 5th at 6:00pm

by Duncan Pflaster
directed by Glory Kadigan

The Empress Salacia, spurned by man, decrees that there shall be no love allowed in her domain, only sex.

Saturday, February 5th at 8:30pm

by Riti Sachdeva
directed by Lee Sunday Evans

The establishment of Pakistan is the backdrop of this magical period drama where neighbor betrays neighbor and love trumps all.

Sunday, February 6th at 5:00pm


Readings are free and open to the public. For detailed location of each reading, campus map and to reserve your seats in advance (highly recommended) visit
Watch our youtube promo:
To download photos of the playwrights and NewBorn artwork visit:

The 2011 National NewBorn Festival is sponsored by
The City College of New York’s Psychology Club and Department


MAIEUTIC THEATRE WORKS (MTWorks) is a non-profit NYC based theatre company that has premiered distinctive plays and brought numerous Broadway performers to Off-Off Broadway audiences since 2006. Now a family of 12 theater professionals and 28 company actors, MTWorks’ mission is to birth new plays inspired by playwrights and regions outside of New York City.

Past productions include Cody Daigle's A Home Across the Ocean at Theatre Row, directed by Cristina Alicea; Carol Carpenter's Good Lonely People at The Robert Moss Theatre (Winner of 3 Planet Connections Theatre Awards; Best Supporting Actress, Best New Playwright, Activist Award), directed by Diánna Martin; David Stallings' Barrier Island (Center Stage), directed by Cristina Alicea; The 2010 National NewBorn Festival at Asya Geisberg Studio, various directors; Underworld: Duets at The Triad NYC (Benefit); 4 Variations of Mee at Manhattan Children’s Theatre, various directors; Louise Flory's Look After You at The SoHo Playhouse (FringeNYC 09), directed by David Stallings; Jacqueline Goldfinger's The Oath at The Arclight Theater, directed by Cristina Alicea; The 2009 National NewBorn Festival at The ArcLight Theater, various directors; Into the Underworld: A Broadway Understudy Tell All...With Music at The Triad NYC (Benefit); David Stallings' Anaïs Nin Goes to Hell at The Connelly Theater, directed by Cristina Alicea (FringeNYC 08); Cody Daigle's Providence at The Rock Theatre, directed by Ian Crawford; Underworld: A Night With Broadway's Understudies at The D-Lounge (Benefit); The 2008 National NewBorn Festival at The Payan Theatre, various directors; David Stallings's Arpeggio at The 45th Street Theatre, directed by Cristina Alicea; The 2007 National NewBorn Festival at The Payan Theatre, various directors; and David Stallings' Folie a Deux: Insanity in Pairs at The Rock Theatre, directed by Cristina Alicea.