Monday, March 31, 2014
"The Homo Poe Show" from Iron Crow Theatre
I found out about this by chance when browsing the Baltimore Sun's gay news page, got a ticket online, and braved an unexpected slush storm to get there. And I'm glad I went.
Produced by Iron Crow Theatre, a Baltimore-based LGBT theater group, this puts an interesting gay twist on the works of Poe. Of course, some of Poe's work kind of lends itself to gay interpretation; I always wondered about C. Auguste Dupin. Seriously, this is a fun, provocative work.
Something interesting about it, besides being a series of vignettes doing a gay twist on Poe, is the amount of aerial choreogrpahy (from Mara Neimanis), with characters climbing on large rings, and at one point, an arrow, hanging from the ceiling. It gives a unique aspect to the staging, which also includes some dance as well.
It kicks off with "I Dreamed of Poe," in which Neimanis engages in some aerial work, including making a pendulum of herself. Then up is "Thomas," a sort of gay twist on "Eleonora" with aspects of "Annabel Lee." Then comes my favorite part of the show, "Timothy," which is more directly influence by "Annabel Lee" but also tackles a gay man's obsession with youth, always chasing young guys who represent his long-lost first love, and being mocked all the while by Time, swinging on a pendulum. Then up is "Super-Hot Raven," an amusing satire on super-politically-correct intellectualism, as a lesbian poet comes home to find a handywoman in a Ravens jersey fixing the radiator...and then they fall in love.
The second part is rather dance-oriented, kicking off with an aerial piece by Neimanis, "Points of Grief," and then a forceful dance/choreographed fight between two men, "Do You Mark Me Well?" The last piece, "Grieving and Sequins," hits on Poe's themes of loss of loved ones, and borrows a bit from "Masque of the Red Death," as a man who lost his lover to AIDS confronts the specter of his infection and how it keeps him from engaging with life.
There's good performances all round, and a very literate and intelligent script. The combination of traditional theater with dance and aerial choreography makes for a blast of a theatrical experience. There is some brief nudity, which I certainly enjoyed but it's worth mentioning for those with delicate sensibilities. But if you have delicate sensibilities, what the hell are you doing reading this blog?