The musical Jekyll and Hyde has a song called “Confrontation,” in which the “good” Dr. Jekyll argues with the “bad” Mr. Hyde about which of them deserves to live in his body.
In a recent fundraiser for the Ukiah Players Theatre, “Bring on the Men,” the song was given a brilliant twist: a man telling his gay urges he was going to kill them. And the struggle was conveyed brilliantly by Casey Frey, who switched back and forth from solemn to animated as effortlessly and completely as a rubber band changes from taut to loose.
That was cool.
So cool, in fact, I felt that performance alone was worth the hefty ticket price. What I liked even more, however, was when UPT executive director Jenny Peterman described why she had chosen a show full of men in drag to be the theater’s fundraiser.
On the surface, there seems to be no better way to get women in particular to shell out $40 a ticket than to promise plenty of men in panty hose, then throw in a free drink and dessert.
But Peterman said the show was about more than fun. It was about having the performers step into someone else's shoes, and in the process hopefully learn a bit more than how to walk in high heels.
“I never understood how 'tolerance' was supposed to be the preferred response (to those who identify as something other than strictly heterosexual),” said Peterman. “I believe love and acceptance is the only humane response.”
This show, Peterman said, even helped her performers, who were arguably already particularly accepting of different lifestyles, learn some things about accepting other people’s choices, most notably about how much hair they choose to remove.
“These guys are shaved and plucked and tucked within an inch of their lives,” she said, explaining that while “before there was all sorts of bawdy talk about their partners’ bodies and who likes a little hair or no hair at all. But now, after they know what it’s like to have to remove it, they’re like: ‘Do whatever you want.’”
That was super cool.
Because learning to accept what other people do in other bedrooms is relatively easy. But learning to love every hair your partner brings to your bed? Now that’s love and acceptance.
|The men of "Bring on the Men" (l to r): Tucker Morninglight, Brian Maneely, Chuck Mordock (purple shirt), Casey Frey, Oscar Medina Montelongo and Justin Kester (lying down). Photo credit: Chris Pugh-Ukiah Daily Journal|