A revenge story and a cautionary tale about good gay guys gone bad, New Theatre presents the Australian premiere of Angry Fags by Topher Payne as part of the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival from 6 February.
Bennett is really trying to keep it together right now. He’s broken up with his boyfriend, and moved in with his best friend Cooper, and he’s under the pump at work.
His boss, an openly lesbian Georgia state senator, is up for re-election. Her black female opponent is a moderate conservative who’s aligned herself with alt-right fundamentalist Christians. They’re locked in a tight race in which each side dog-whistles to its base and any event can become politicized in an instant.
When Bennett’s ex is bashed in the car park of a gay bar, the senator refuses to label it a hate crime – because, under Georgia law, hate crimes against homosexuals don’t exist. Tipped over the edge, Bennett and Cooper embark on a vendetta of sabotage and assassinations, reasoning that if gays aren’t respected enough to win equal justice and rights, fear will achieve what good intentions and politics cannot.
Whip-smart and very funny, this deliciously subversive political satire, with more than a nod to the films of Quentin Tarantino, Angry Fags, pushes all the buttons.
For the past 25 years, New Theatre has produced a play as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. This year’s offering is a bitingly funny satire for the age of Trump, directed by Mark G Nagle (who helmed New Theatre’s 2017 Mardi Gras production, Fucking Men).
“Topher Payne’s satirical comedy has its finger right on the button,” says Nagle. “Rewriting his original script soon after the election of Donald Trump, Payne packs the play with various scenarios involving the many shades of media hungry politicos and their spin doctors, the double standards faced by women in politics, the Grand ol’ Party – aka American Republicanism – rearing its ugly head in all its bigoted glory, and a murder that seems to be calling for revenge – no matter the cost.”
Nagle wanted to direct the play because apart from the brilliant storyline and the fast-paced structure, he was hugely attracted to the hilarious dialogue. “It’s laugh-out-loud stuff,” he says. “and has a lot to say about society in general and the present-day machination of living under Trump.
“Although written by a gay playwright and including several gay characters this is a play for everyone. Indeed it’s merely a story where the central characters happen to be gay. It is a tale about making a stand, regardless of consequence – and everyone can relate to that! Part camp romp, part thriller, it culminates in one helluva surprise ending,” says Nagle.
Topher Payne is an award-winning American playwright, director and screenwriter. His works include: Don’t Look at the Fat Lady, Entertaining Lesbians, Evelyn in Purgatory, Let Nothing You Dismay, The Medicine Showdown, Morningside, The Only Light in Reno, Perfect Arrangement, Swell Party and Tokens of Affection. Since 2016, he has scripted five original films for The Hallmark Channel, including My Summer Prince and the Gift to Remember series.
Payne’s directing credits include: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Springer Opera House, 2019), Morningside (New Stage Theatre, 2018), The Foreigner (Hangar Theatre, 2017), The House of Yes (Out of Box Theatre, 2015), and the world premiere of Johnny Drago’s Trash (Process Theatre, 2013.)
Director: Mark G Nagle Featuring: Brynn Antony, Phoebe Fuller, Monique Kalmar, Lachie Pringle, Meg Shooter, Emily Weare, Tom Wilson Set Designers: Mark G Nagle, Marta Rodriguez Lighting Designer: David Marshall-Martin Costume Designer: Bobbi Rickards Sound Designer: Glenn Braithwaite Vision Designer: George-Alex Nagle Assistant Director: Jarryd Prain Assistant Lighting Designer: Sam Rorke Production Manager: Mickie Miller Stage Manager: Caitlin Andrews Assistant Stage Manager: Robyn Arthur Operators: Jaymes Julian Wilson, Claudia Lafoy
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 6 February – 7 March 2020 (preview: 5 February)
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: © Spanic/iStock/Christina Hatzis
Note: this production contains nudity, simulated drug use, references to violence, guns, strong language and adult themes