Taylor Mac ladles brilliance in Holiday Sauce

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Set and costume designer Machine Dazzle (left) and writer/singer/deity Taylor Mac perform in Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce at the Curran through December 1. Below: Mac deconstructs the patriarchy of spirituality in the unconventional holiday show. Photos by Little Fang Photography

Is it greedy, in this season of generosity, to feel like two hours of Taylor Mac is about four hours short of the minimum time one wants to spend with this extraordinary human being?

The last time Mac was at the Curran, it was with A 24-Decade History of Popular Music in easily digestible six-hour chunks. Those shows were mind-blowing – the kind of immersive, genre-busting, challenging, cosmic experiences that make you re-think just about everything, from what live theater can be to what your purpose is on this planet.

Now Mac is back with a two-hour show called Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce, and while two hours is far better than no hours, by the time the show ended, I felt like we were just getting warmed up and ready to do some real work in tearing down “patriarchy as spirituality,” as Mac puts it. This is like no holiday show you’ve ever seen – a Radical Faerie Realness Ritual Sacrifice that involves music and drag and gloriously theatrical excess and full-blown political revolt. Look for eggnog, Rudolph and Hallmark movies elsewhere.

We do get a Christmas tree (worn as a costume by Machine Dazzle, who designed the set as well as all the outrageously wonderful costumes) as well as an angel (Gabriel, who strips down to skin glitter on stage before ascending and getting his wings) and a nativity complete with camels, a beer-swilling Baby Jesus and three Wise People who may have caused a stir amid the denizens of Bethlehem.

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But holiday traditions are more exploded than celebrated here, and it feels so good. If “The Black Angel’s Death Song” by Velvet Underground is your idea of a stirring holiday carol, you’re in luck. That’s how Mac opens the show (accompanied by musical director Matt Ray at the piano and magnificent eight-piece orchestra complete with brass and strings), and it’s our first blast of the Mac voice, that muscular tone that can belt and swoon and hammer and caress. Later on Mac will blend “All Tomorrow’s Parties” (another Velvet Underground tune) with “The Little Drummer Boy,” and then turn “O, Holy Night” into a de-constructed, re-constructed audience sing-along that just may revise how you hear all those classic holiday chestnuts.

Mac’s triptych tirade against capitalism includes William Roy’s “Bargain Day” and Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids” capped off with the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” complete with an elder choir singing on the mezzanine.

It’s all in service of Mac’s effort to bring the margins into the center, to re-frame how we look at tradition and why so many parts of the population – queer, gender fluid, female, senior – are kept from the heart of the celebration. Mac also aims to pay tribute to Mother Flawless Sabrina, whose image presides over the increasingly crowded stage (filled with elves and Dandy Minions and a Santa who will ask before touching). A spiritual mother figure to Mac, Mother Flawless is quoted as saying things like, “Reality is a mass hunch” and “Normal is a setting on the dryer” – aphorisms that feel like shiny adornments on this bounteous holiday package.

My favorite musical moment in the show is one that highlights something Mac is especially skilled at: building a sense of community among audience and performers. The song is The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York,” and anyone who knows the lyrics (or anyone who doesn’t) is invited to join the party on the stage, where Bushmill’s and Jameson’s are served in little paper cups. It’s a party you don’t want to see ending anytime soon.

Mac commands the stage like no one else. The Machine Dazzle outfits help a lot. The first ensemble includes boars’ heads with apples in their mouths as epaulets and a skirt of elf arms and hands tangled with reindeer antlers. The second is a Nutcracker fantasy in pink with a skirt that doubles as a carousel. Mac doesn’t need all the flash to hold an audience in thrall, but the grand drag is magnificent. It frames a performance brimming with intelligence, ferocity and theatrical charm.

That’s why, at the end of two hours, it’s so hard to say goodbye to Mac. Once you’re on the Holiday Sauce you’re well on your way to a case of Macaholism that will last well into the new year.

[bonus video]
Here’s Taylor Mac performing Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power” on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in October 2018:

Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce continues through Dec. 1 at the Curran, 445 Geary St., San Francisco. Tickets are $29-$175. Call 415-358-1220 or visit sfcurran.com.

Taylor Mac cycles through American song

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Taylor Mac performs the first act of his epic A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1776-1806 as part of Curran: Under Construction. When completed, the song cycle will stretch 240 years, from 1776 to 2016 and will be performed in its entirety over 24 hours. The fabulous costumes are by Machine Dazzle. Photos by Jim Norrena

Taylor Mac emerges, godlike, from the mezzanine, resplendent in a sparkling headdress and gown, and from the stage of the Curran Theatre, where the audience is seated, it looks like the lowered chandelier is actually the crowning part of his ensemble.

Once Mac makes his way to the stage, where he joins his nine-piece band, he may appear less godlike – the dress, on closer inspection, is part tawdry tease, part used car lot banners and tinsel – but remains no less impressive. Towering in his heels, Mac warbles his way through an amazing “Amazing Grace” as he welcomes his audience into Act 1 of his epic undertaking: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, which, when complete, will be performed once in its entirety, with each decade receiving an hour in the show, making it a full 24-hour concert experience with no intermissions. In smaller chunks, the piece is broken into eight acts, each covering three decades. The first act covers 1776 to 1806, and the last will cover 2006-2016.

While in San Francisco, Mac, a native (and escapee) of Stockton, as part of the Curran: Under Construction series, Mac is performing Act 1 and, for the first time, Act 2: 1806-1836. On Saturday, Jan. 30, he will do a marathon six-hour run of Act 1 and Act 2, and, like all performances from the cycle, there will be no intermissions.

To describe what Mac does in this show requires some critical quilting: there’s performance art, there’s theater, there’s cabaret, there’s agitprop swirled with history, politics and protest. And above all, there are pop songs – popular songs of the day. Not necessarily American songs, but songs that were popular in this country during these particular decades (in the later decades, Mac promises some original songs written in response to performing the entire cycle). Above all else, it’s an experience. It’s fun, it’s long (though the time does fly), it’s thoroughly engaging and Mac is as fascinating and compelling and intelligent and outrageous a star as possible, even when trying to exercise performance art muscles and be annoying or exercise Brechtian distancing techniues. Mac is a true entertainer with a powerful voice as both a singer and a writer (his play Hir, which started out at the Magic Theatre here in 2014 [my review is here], is now a big hit in New York). Mac’s reason for creating this extraordinary piece date back to the mid-’80s and attending the first AIDS Walk in San Francisco. There, on view, was a community deteriorating from the ravages of an epidemic but, at the same time, building itself back up into a community to nurture, fight and survive. That pattern, Mac says, is evident in every decade he’s covering and his show, the 24-hour hone, will deteriorate as it progresses (the 24-piece orchestra on that day will lose a musician an hour leaving a ravaged Mac alone on stage in the final hour) all the while building a new community among the audience members.

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The way Mac builds that community is primarily through his dynamic performance of songs, most of them unfamiliar but all rousingly performed (and arranged by music director/pianist Matt Ray). Mac also engages his audience in all kinds of activities. During “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” for instance, judy (Mac prefers the pronoun judy to a more traditional gender-based pronoun, which is way too creative and fun not to use) explicates the song’s origins (British making fun of behind-the-fashion Americans) and engages judy’s audience in various parts to create chaos representing all the elements on which the country was founded, including loathing of Congress, the longing to be anywhere but America, the adoration of people with black hair and the misinterpretation of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.” Mac has an audience member worshipped as a god from the stage, has the “dandy minions” (a squad helpers) outfit audience members in boas and fuzzy ears and the like, and recruits various audience members to play characters opposite judy on stage.

In the second hour, which is devoted to the origins of the women’s movement, Mac has the dandy minions pass out apples for a particularly poignant section, and during the third hour, which is devoted to pub songs to represent the young union’s “frat boy” phase, we get beer and pingpong balls.

With each new hour comes a new costume designed by Machine Dazzle. The trash-chic glitter of the first hour is replaced by chiffon-dripping columns and hips adorned by severed heads. For the pub section, Mac takes on the character of Crazy Sally, a sort of performance-art barfly whose gown features practical features like rolls of toilet paper and other toiletries. It’s all grandly theatrical, and surprises abound throughout the three hours.

Co-director Niegel Smith and Mac still have a work to do, which they will do throughout this workshop production, but the roughness is part of the charm. Everybody feels in the moment, and as Mac repeats as a sort of mantra, “perfection is for assholes.” As fun as Act 1 is, it also has a certain weight. There’s a moment when Mac is a singing a beautiful lullaby and asks neighbors to put their heads in each other’s laps as if after a night of heavy drinking, and it felt like the onstage community had really clicked. We were in it together and taking a moment of comfort. It was a stunning experience, as is, it would seem, just about anything Mac sets out to do.

Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music continues with performances of the first act, 1776-1806, on Jan. 22 and 23 and the second act, 1806-1836, Jan. 26 and 27. Both acts will be performed in a six-hour marathon run (no intermission) Jan. 30. Tickets are $50 and $75 (marathon). Visit www.sfcurran.com.

Turning on a paradigm in Magic’s HIR

Max (Jax Jackson, left) and Paige (Nancy Opel) in the world premiere of Taylor Mac’s HIR at Magic Theatre. Below: Isaac (Ben Euphrat) and his mother navigate his bumpy return from war in Afghanistan. Photos by Jennifer Reiley

The last time Taylor Mac was in town, he gave us the five-hour Lily’s Revenge with glitter, drag queens, a cast of 40 and so much dazzling theatricality that we were able to withstand his absence in the following three years (read my Lily’s Revenge review here)

Mac has continued to wow audiences in shows like his two-man outing with Mandy Patinkin or La Ma Ma’s acclaimed The Good Person of Szechwan, but the Magic Theatre was able to lure him back to present the world premiere of something entirely different than Lily’s Revenge. This time out, Mac is the playwright of HIR (pronounced like “here”), a fairly traditional two-act, two-plus-hour play that seems like a sitcom filtered through Mac’s gender-fluid, ragingly intelligent, funny and passionate artistry.

Rather than plot, of which there’s not much, HIR focuses instead on characters dealing with change. Isaac (Ben Euphrat has just returned from three years at war working with Mortuary Affairs, and there’s a cloud hovering over his discharge. He expects to come home to find his parents and little sister were when he left them, but he’s in for a rude shock. The house, in some hot, dusty California suburb, is a complete mess, and chaos reigns. Dad (Mark Anderson Phillips), formerly an abusive brute, has had a stroke that has changed him completely. He can’t speak much, he moves with difficulty and he’s living out his wife’s revenge fantasy.

That revenge mistress would be Paige (Nancy Opel), a woman who has found her strength and, possibly, lost her mind. She refuses to clean the house, do laundry or cook because she’d rather work for a nonprofit. She emasculates her husband by putting him in glittery, clown-y makeup and by making him wear nightgowns. When she bothers to change his diaper, she just hoses him down in the backyard. She’s giving him estrogen, and when he misbehaves, she grabs the squirt bottle as if she were scolding a cat.

She’s also homeschooling Maxine, who is now Max. That is, perhaps, the biggest change under this family roof. Seventeen-year-old Max (Jax Jackson) is taking testosterone shots and making the transition. Paige thinks this is fantastic, and Max’s brave journey has been an inspiration to her own. She even has a sense of humor about it all: “I credit the Cheetos,” she says. “How could we feed our children fluorescent food and not expect a little gender confluence?” Full of enthusiasm for what she calls “an alphabet of genders,” Paige explains the new world of pronouns to Isaac. The word “ze” (pronounced “zay”) replaces he or she and “hir” replaces her or him.


Says Paige, “Any breach in decorum will cause hir to write in hir blog about how awful hir troglodyte fascist hetero-normative mother is. It’s fantastic.”

This section of the play, where Paige’s zeal is manic and marvelous and as touching as it is fun, is the best of the evening. Learning for Paige was “like being baptized only without the male-dominated, hegemonic paradigm. Everyone is a little bit of everything, Isaac. We’re simply us. Hir.” Having a transgender child has pulled the veil from Paige’s eyes, and her years as an abused wife and cowering woman are over. Gender barriers have crumbled. She has seen that she can be all things, and she has fully come into her power.

She even subverts the whole notion of American life in a single sentence: “You can’t do anything in life or to the world if your original intent is not to actually do the thing but to do better than the thing.” She is, as she might put it, fantastic.

But all this happens about halfway through Act 1. We still need to have Isaac rebel against all this change and begin protecting and nurturing his father (who, by the way, also used to beat him along with his mother and sister) and putting things back the way they used to be, the way they are, to his mind, “supposed” to be.

Alas, nothing in Act 2 reaches the heights of Act 1 except maybe the construction of a sheet palace, the wearing of festive wigs and the presentation of a shadow puppet show. More focus shifts to Arnold (the dad), and there’s a struggle between the evolved and the “normal” that cracks the dynamic-duo nature of Paige and Max’s big adventure. Isaac is the cause of that crack. He represents the way the flawed, narrow world works. Paige sees herself and Max as the new, “beyond gender, beyond possessions, beyond the past.” But the pull of home, which Paige calls “a mechanism of control,” and the notion of family exerts a strong pull on Isaac, who in turn exerts a strong pull on Max.

The bleak ending isn’t so much the problem as the lack of clarity. Max goes out of focus, as does Paige, and Isaac doesn’t really grow or change in any interesting way. He’s damaged by war and needs his old life and family back. He’s an empathetic person, even toward his father, and he’s doing his best to wrap his head around Max’s new place in life. But Mac can’t bring all of these things together as effectively in the end as he’s done in bringing them all together.

The production itself, directed by Niegel Smith, gets a big visual boost from set designer Alexis Distler, who has created a dilapidated “starter home” (that never got started), with see-through walls exposing the living room behind the kitchen, the hallway to the bedrooms and the general material oppression of middle-class life. The actors fill that space with tremendous energy, especially Opel and Jackson. They seem truly inspired by the twin journeys of Paige and Max, while Euphrat and Phillips, both strong actors, feel stunted by the way they cling to traditional male roles (with the exception being Phillips’ utter glee during the dress-up sheet fort/puppet show scene).

It seems HIR is not quite finished, but Mac has delivered a smart, incisive comedy that brings potentially mind-expanding perspectives to the stage.

Taylor Mac’s HIR continues an extended run through March 2 at the Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street. Tickets are $20-$60. Call 415-441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org.

What’s up, glitter Lily?

The Lily's Revenge
Taylor Mac (center) is Lily in The Lily’s Revenge at the Magic Theatre. Here in Act 1, “A Princess Musical” directed by Meredith McDonough, he is surrounded by The Marys (from left) Jason Brock, Amy Kossow and Dave End. Below: In Act 3, “A Dream Ballet,” directed and choreographed by Erika Chong Shuch, Bride Love is played by Rowena Richie and her flower girls are (from left) Erin Mei-Ling Stuart and Ara Glenn-Johanson. Photos by Pak Han

Sitting at the computer, hands hovering over the keyboard, I’ve been staring at the screen wondering where to begin describing and opining about The Lily’s Revenge at the Magic Theatre.

Adjectives don’t quite do it justice – much the way that a photograph of an oil painting never really captures the essence, vibrancy and presence of the original work. And the usual critical jabber – Don’t miss it! Theater event of the spring! Unforgettably unique! – seem paltry as well.

It’s not that Lily, the brainchild of writer/performer Taylor Mac, is a landmark work in Western theater canon or the reinvention of the art form as we know it. But it’s something incredibly special – a completely absorbing communal experience that turns out to be more than the sum of its abundant parts.

There’s a definite party vibe on all floors of Building D in Fort Mason Center. The Magic usually occupies space on the third floor, but for this epic, with five acts, nearly 40 actors and musicians and a running time of about 4 ½ hours, the company has spread out all over the building.

The main floor, when you enter, is where you pick up will call tickets and, if you’re in the mood, order the box meal you’ll receive between Acts 1 and 2 (price is $15 and the meal includes a sandwich, chips, a cookie, piece of fruit and a non-alcoholic beverage). You pass by what is usually a meeting room, but if you poke your head in, you’ll see it’s a ginormous dressing room for the large cast and their outsize costumes. The sounds of giggling and vocal warm-ups trickle out of the room.

As audience members gather outside the Magic’s auditorium, free red wine and coffee (usually available between Acts 1 and 2) are offered to bolster excitement and perhaps provide some added stamina. This is the start of a long haul.

When it’s time to enter the theater, Kat Wentworth as the Card Girl, bangs a gong and gives us instructions. One key thing to note: she requests that for the first two (of three) intermissions, keep all mobile technology off and interact with fellow audience members instead. During the final intermission, communication with the outside world is actively encouraged.

Once inside the theater, you’re strapped in for the ride (metaphorically speaking), and though you could conceivably jump off during an intermission, that would be a mistake – if only because the intermissions contain entertainments as varied and as fun as the show itself.

Five acts, six directors (one for the intermissions), nearly five hours and a cast larger than some operas. Those are the basic parameters. Each act is performed in a different style – musical theater, dance, verse play, film and camp-drag extravaganza – and each time you come back into the theater, you’ll find it in a different configuration (and you won’t be sitting in the same seat or near the same people). Huge kudos to the directors for their outstanding and varied work: Meredith McDonough, Marissa Wolf, Erika Chong Shuch, Erin Gilley, Jessica Holt and Jessica Heidt.

The Lily's Revenge

In terms of the show itself, here’s a little of what you can expect. You will be dazzled by Lindsay W. Davis’ costume designs. He turns the botanical world into a glitzy hot house of roses with killer thorns, a sunflower queen with the most regal headgear this side of African royalty, a pile of dirt that becomes a gorgeous glamazon gal, an infectious disease with staggering member and so, so much more. There’s beauty, humor and dazzle in the pageantry of Davis’ marvelous creations.

You will fall under the spell of Taylor Mac, whose script is so smart, so funny and so incredibly rich with delights that you may be a little resentful to find that he’s also a consummate actor/comedian/singer. He stars as Lily, a potted plant from a home in Daly City who’s being taken to see his first play. At first, he looks like an asparagus crossed with Claudette Colbert, but then you fall for this budding thespian and love him, petals and all. Captivated by the magic of the theater, Lily works his way into the narrative (with the help of Time played by the wonderful Jeri Lynn Cohen) and becomes the hero: a plant who longs to be the groom to the beautiful bride (a silvery voiced Casi Maggio).

There’s a scene in Act 1 when Lily becomes so caught up in the rush of being a theatrical diva that he envisions an entire theater career in one glorious monologue. I immediately wanted to hit rewind and watch him do it again. But there’s no time in a 4 ½-hour show for revisiting. The show must move on.

And so it does. The villain of the piece is The Great Longing, a red velvet theatrical curtain played with bravura gusto by Mollena Williams, and her mission is to keep the world mired in nostalgia and, as we hear over and over again, “institutional narrative” aka the romantic illusion of weddings.

From act to act, we check in on Lily’s journey to woo the bride away from her human (and barely dressed) groom (Paul Baird) and his quest to free Dirt (Monique Jenkinson, also known as Fauxnique and this show’s very busy, very creative makeup designer) for reasons that are too complicated to go into.

In fact, the plot is filled with absurdity as it weaves metaphor and myth and fable in ways that would please John Waters and Joseph Campbell. But as silly as things get, there’s always depth to Mac’s writing and especially to his performance as Lily, a character you immediately love and trust. Then, when Mac sings (the delightfully tuneful score is by Rachelle Garniez and Mac), time stops, and so does the show. A ferociously captivating singer, Mac has a voice that gives you shivers, makes you smile and makes you sad – all at the same time. Magnificent.

I can honestly say that I did not look at my watch once while I was on the Lily’s Revenge ride. I was exhausted by the end – the final scene, in which Mac’s charms are stripped down to their bare essentials and as powerful as ever, had me all emotional – but I loved every minute.

This is a completely unique theatrical experience, one that the Magic should take full credit for orchestrating with panache. This could have been one giant, spangled chaotic mess, but it’s a triumph. It’s an extraordinarily wonderful event infused with utter absurdity and artistic genius.

There’s so much more to the show that I haven’t even begun to touch upon, but I’ve said enough. You should just go experience The Lily’s Revenge for yourself. It’s community theater in the truest sense – created, performed and enjoyed by an open-hearted, appreciative community that is created in a mere 4 ½ hours.


Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge continues through May 22 at the Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street. Tickets are $30-$75. Call 415-441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org for information.

The Magic’s Lily blooms!

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Taylor Mac as Lily. Photo by Jose A. Guzman Colon

There’s a lot of excitement burbling through the Bay Area theater community this spring. One of the reasons is the Magic Theatre’s The Lily’s Revenge, a ballsy five-hour play by Stockton native Taylor Mac.

With five acts performed in five different styles – musical theater, dance, puppets, Elizabethan-style drama – the show has a cast of nearly 40 (all local, by the way) musicians, actors, dancers, acrobats, drag queens, etc. There are actually six directors – one for each act plus one to direct the intermission events between each act. This is definitely the biggest, boldest theatrical event of the spring.

Check out this extraordinary roster of directors:

Meredith McDonough, director of New Works at TheatreWorks
Marissa Wolf, artistic director of Crowded Fire Theater
Erika Chong Shuch, choreographer and director of Erika Chong Shuch Project
Erin Gilley, founding artistic director of Elastic Future
Jessica Holt, director at Berkeley Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Shotgun Players and more
Jessica Heidt, artistic director of Climate Theater

Among the enormous cast are Julia Brothers, Jeri Lynn Cohen, Carlos Aguirre and Tobie Windham.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mac and Magic Theatre Artistic Director Loretta Greco for a feature in the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the feature here.

As usual, I couldn’t fit all the good stuff into the story. Here’s more with Taylor Mac.

Asking audience members to commit to a five-hour experience is a lot. Mac understands this and asks you to consider the following: “You go to the office for eight hours a day, sit at a desk and do things. Here you have an opportunity to hang out for five hours at what is essentially a party. You get to think about themes that are essential to the way we’re living our lives. You’ll see adults dressed up like flowers in the most amazing costumes you’ll ever see. You’ll experience a theatrical play you’ll never forget. Or you can go to the office for five hours and forget almost everything about your day.”

Mac says five hours is really nothing in our lives, “especially if it’s an experience you’ll remember the rest of your life. Five hours is nothing.”

After having done The Lily’s Revenge to much acclaim at New York’s HERE Art Center, Mac says he’s in love with the long form because long shows are events, not the usual thing.

“The audience makes an investment and comes with different expectations,” he says. “When you give people what they think they want, you end up with High School Musical, which they don’t actually want. They may think they do, but they don’t actually want what they already know. I get that. I see them at these shows getting what they said they want. They’re bored out of their minds, but they stand up at the end. They don’t look bored at my shows because they’re constantly trying to figure it out.”

Mac’s drag persona is, as some drag personae tend to be, larger than life and outrageously wonderful. Still, people ask Mac, who happens to be adorable in his civilian get-up, why he has to channel his talents through the exaggerated makeup and wild costumes.

“In some ways, when people say that, it’s like they’re saying, ‘You don’t have to do drag. You don’t have to be gay.’ Ugh. I feel like my ddrag is what I look like on the inside,” Mac says. “I’m not hiding in drag, not hiding behind the costume. I’m exposing something. When I dress in jeans and a T-shirt, that’s when I’m hiding because I blend in with everybody else. When I’m on stage, my responsibility is to expose something about myself I wouldn’t normally. Even with the Lily costume, it’s may saying what I look like on the inside: ugly, beautiful, chaotic, specific, polished, rough, feminine, masculine. All at the same time. This is the full range of who I am. When I try to find an aesthetc or look that expresses what I feel like on the inside, it turns out to be a kind of freak drag.”

Having grown up in Stockton, Mac rebels against homogeneity, the surburan code of things having to be a certain way.

“I keep going back to that: how can I not be just one thing?” he says. “I want to show the range of who I am. It’s this anti-relativism that is so prevalent in so much of our culture that says there is only good and only evil. That couldn’t possibly be true. If it were, the pope would have to be wholly evil, and he’s not wholly evil. He’s not wholly good either. We know that. Obviously there is some gray there.”

Mac’s work comes from a queer perspective, but for him, the word “queer” isn’t a gay/straight issue. “My friend Penny Arcade says queer means you were ostracized by society as a young person to such a degree that you could now never ostracize anyone else,” Mac explains. “I agree wholeheartedly. The kind of work I’m doing is actually traditional. Theater used to be theatrical. The Greeks wore platform heels and did cross-gender characters. Realism has only been here for 100 years or so, which makes realism the real avant garde. A David Mamet play – that’s some serious avant garde. That’s the weird stuff. Theatrical stuff like I’m doing is traditional. I’m doing it from a queer person’s perspective, a counter-culture person’s perspective, but it’s still definitely traditional.

[bonus video: The Lily’s Revenge trailer]


Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge runs April 21 through May 22 at the Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $30-$75. Call 415-441-8822 or visit www.magictheatre.org for info.