Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bad Theater, pt 2

Michael Phillis' play 'Dolls' is about ... DOLLS!
The dolls in Phillis' new play are the means through which the viewer learns about their owner, an older gay man named Frank. Some of the dolls have been with Frank since his childhood; others are newer. They take on Frank's character traits - including a love of "CSI" and unhealthy snack foods - and they're all a little bit gay.
A little bit gay! Yes! Just innocent fun! But, be warned. Phillis' tale is one with dark edges: 
But while the dolls come to resemble their owner, and also follow the four doll rules - including "never let them see you move" and "even if you don't like the game, you still have to play" - they also have their own identities, independent of Frank. There's a caste system among them, and they deal with real-world issues like politics, war and civil liberties infringements.
"Civil liberties infringements" is Playwright Code for: "This is life during wartime in George W Bush's America." But, you should know that Phillis struggled mightily with his muse.  
"Once the idea had really (taken shape) ... it was almost like, wow, I can do anything with this idea," Phillis says. "And then right after that great realization, there was the, oh, my gosh, what am I going to do?"
Luckily for Phillis he always has Old Reliable to sell tix. 

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