Inside – Sky Gilbert’s very gay, two-hander dramedy takes stage at Toronto Fringe Festival -July 6 to 16 – includes Q&A
INSIDE is a very gay, two-hander ‘dramedy’; a play that is both funny and moving; thought-provoking, and purposely written to challenge an audience beyond the traditional ideas of gender and sexuality that are presented in contemporary media.
It’s the story of Tom (played by Jonathan Wilson) who follows Ryan Russell (as himself) into a gay bar and watches him perform, then tries to make contact with this well-known Canadian porn star / sex trade worker. Later, Tom and Ryan discuss Tom’s “problem” while both men confront issues of masculinity and vulnerability. Ryan is accustomed to stalkers and tries to help Tom. He invites Tom into an old warehouse to sit and talk, and there, the two men discuss Tom’s ‘problem’. Ryan discovers that Tom is apparently not a gay man. So what does he want from Ryan? What, in fact, does one man want from another? Especially, why does a straight man want to get closer with a gay man if he is not in any way gay? In the end, the production raises questions that are central to the lives of all men – gay, straight, bi, or ‘whatever’?
This is your chance to see two seasoned Canadian performers in an intimate setting. The production also features a new short film by performance artist/filmmaker Keith Cole, who also is the Projections Designer. Produced and Directed by Sky Gilbert, with Stage Manager Kasie Raynard.
Inside – Tarragon Extraspace – 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto
Thurs, July 6 – 8:15 PM
Mon, July 10 – 2:15 PM
Wed, July 12 – 4:45 PM
Thurs, July 13 – 10:15 PM
Sat, July 15 – 12:30 PM
Sun, July 16 – 6:00 PM
Catch a sneak peek of INSIDE at the free monthly reading series: The Liars Club, hosted by Sky’s alter ego Jane/ Special PRIDE edition with guests Jonathan Wilson and Ryan Russell, who will do a sneak peek reading of INSIDE, as well as another one of Sky’s plays, My Night with Tennessee, that premiered at Buddies in 1992. For fans of Ryan Russell, he will appear in My Night with Tennessee in a very special pair of underwear!
JUNE 28 @ 7PM | Mandy’s on the Danforth | 123 Danforth Ave.
The Liars Club is a free monthly reading series that takes place on the last Wednesday of every month at Mandy’s on the Danforth. It is a supportive place to say anything, perform, and read from your latest book, or book in progress!
Q&A with Director, Sky Gilbert
Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind your new play, Inside? Perhaps we can start with where the title stems from?
The play was suggested to me by my partner. He wanted to see me do a gay play in Hamilton. He also suggested that I work with Ryan Russell, who is a very talented porn star who I have often considered working with but I’ve never had the right vehicle for him. I wrote the play for Ryan, and he plays himself, a sex trade worker. The play is called INSIDE because — well you have to see it. It’s very much the subject matter of the play — one man getting inside another man.
You’ve lined up two Canadian talents from the queer community, Jonathan Wilson, and Ryan Russell. Is this your first time working with each of them?
Yes, the first time with Ryan Russell. Jonathan Wilson (Gay For Pay, With Blake and Clay) is an actor who I never worked with, however I knew him from Buddies, and I always admired his work, including his writing.
Can you explain a bit about the story without giving too much detail away, but enough to pique our interest in attending?
The play is about a man (Jonathan Wilson) who appears to be stalking a sex trade worker — Ryan Russell who is stripping at a local bar. They sit down and have a long conversation about what is going on with the stalker. He isn’t actually an ordinary stalker, he doesn’t want to get into Ryan Russell’s pants. Instead he wants Ryan to explain a speech that he made in a film that he appeared in.
The Hamilton production was cancelled last minute, and was to take place at two separate venues. You had mentioned perhaps now premiering it at Toronto’s Fringe Festival. Will you aim to also incorporate two locations, or might a revision be in order?
The play was successfully workshopped with Ryan and Park but inclement weather and other circumstances made the production impossible. Jonathan Wilson will take over at The Fringe. The play will have to be revised as it is no longer site specific. But that is not a problem.
You’ve been producing and workshopping quite a few plays over the past year or so, many continuing to push boundaries, especially around sex. Are you finding it more difficult to find taboo topics that still can shock an audience in this age or instant porn, nude selfies, and Only Fans?
The great thing about theatre is that it is not about money — the way the internet is, and mega movies are. I mean sure there are mega musicals, but it’s still possible to do a little play with a little bit of money and have a little audience. This means that theatre can be free of corporate interference. I don’t have to worry about any sort of censorship of my work, because I am doing everything small. Keep it small I say. The world is about big — now —mega corporations making big money by pleasing all the people all the time. That could lead to the demise of art unless artists continue to make work for themselves and the specific public who craves their experimentation and the pushing of boundaries.
Beyond this production, what else are you working on in terms of theatre, writing, or life in general?
I am working on the final drafts of a novel called The Little Blue House that will be published by Cormorant Books next year. I am working on my third Shakespeare book called Shakespeare’s Effeminacy — haven’t found a publisher yet. I have applied for several grants for a theatre production called Would You Like to be Deceived? — that is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Loves Labours Lost.
I am also hosting a reading series at Mandy Goodhandy’s Bistro (123 Danforth Ave) called The Liars Club. Celebrate lies and liars, and the ability to create strange, well crafted, impossible, horrifying, and beautiful worlds with words. The Liars Club agreement is that ALL writing is a lie, but that creative writing is an INTENTIONAL LIE Free to attend. All readings must be 5 minutes or less. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to sign up to read. Facebook Event Page
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.