Arts & Entertainment
Will Scheffer’s ‘Falling Man and Other Monologues’
Published Thursday, 24-Mar-2005 in issue 900
by Jennifer Chung
Korbett Kompany Productions is not a gay theater company, says Bob Korbett. But the manager and artistic director is committed to reflecting the community’s diversity and presenting gay voices, as in its upcoming production of Will Scheffer’s Falling Man and Other Monologues, at the Adams Avenue Studio of the Arts.
“The voice from the conservative right is getting louder and louder, so I think we have to state who we are in our lives, especially with the reversal of the marriage thing in California,” he said, referring to the March 14 San Francisco County Superior Court ruling that California’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. “All through this year I’m producing gay and lesbian voices, because I think it’s necessary. I think it’s a very necessary time to speak our truth.”
The monologues are a revealing collection of stories about love, sexuality and gay male identity, discussing coming out, to drag queens, to AIDS.
“The monologues are completely different aspects or journeys of a gay person, an exploration of who they are,” said Korbett. The seven unrelated pieces run the gamut from the poignant and bittersweet to the comedic and just plain weird, and journey through different generations and decades. “There’s just this great variation on a theme.”
In one monologue, semi-retired drag queen Crystal reminisces about his friendship with Nubia, an older drag queen. Another is an imaginative tale of a young male hustler invaded by the spirit of the recently deceased Tennessee Williams, and examines what these disparate men can learn from each other. The title piece, Falling Man, is about a young ballroom dancer dying of AIDS who recalls the love of his life.
One bit is delivered by Jeffrey Dahmer and takes place in Dahmer’s kitchen in heaven, in which he gives lessons on cooking and other topics. The piece is sure to raise eyebrows. “It’ll push some people’s buttons, I’m sure,” Korbett said.
Still, he said the stories are “universal,” and that the production will “absolutely” resonate with straight audiences as well as the gay community. One story deals with a precocious, lonely 13-year-old who becomes aware of his sexual identity. The teen recounts defining moments in his young life that anyone who has ever felt alienated or different will relate to.
Korbett gives the production an “R” rating for adult subject matter and some nudity. But the nudity, he said, is not gratuitous.
“It is integral to the role. It is very much a part of what this character is going through,” Korbett said, “because the man is stripped down to his soul. He’s coming to terms with his mortality, and as he’s approaching death he’s sort of reborn.”
Scheffer’s series of monologues was written in 1999, but with it Korbett continues his tradition of bringing San Diego premieres to the stage. Korbett was intrigued by Scheffer’s work not just because of its themes, but because he enjoys the special challenge of staging monologues. Each piece, he said, has its own tone.
“It takes as much energy to do monologues as it does doing a whole play,” he said. “They reflect a real diverse sense of gay culture and I like the edginess, that they are adult.”
Korbett also enjoys working with the actors one on one. The biggest challenge for the actors – as with portraying any character, but especially with monologues – is getting at the truthfulness of their characters. The actors also have to stretch themselves to play other people in the characters’ lives.
“Sometimes in monologues, it’s really easy to set a pace and go with that,” he said. “We keep finding that old actor’s thing of peeling the onion and finding more layers. A beautiful monologue you can work on literally for rest of your life.”
The players include Tim Carr, Brian Hayes, Nick Mata, John Delgato, John Hare, Ryan Suter and Sidney Franklin. Falling Man and Other Monologues opens March 25 and runs through April 3, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $12 for seniors and students. Call (619) 584-3593 for information and tickets.

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