Patricia Milton and Andrew Black Are "Strange Bedfellows"
Theatre Out in Santa Ana brings us the winning play of the 2005 San Francisco Stage and Film Absolute Time Festival, "Strange Bedfellows". The show is the brainchild of playwrights Andrew Black and Patricia Milton. Black and Milton also collaborated on "It’s Murder, Mary!" and "Porn Yesterday," plus their up-and-coming musical, "Not Without Our Women."
One fun tidbit about this new gay screwball comedy is that it’s set right here in modern day Orange County-that’s not all-on top of having local flavor, Strange Bedfellows is the perfect show to see in this election year because of the political themes. Surely we’ll enjoy both the humor and familiarity of the play.
The Democratic candidate for District Attorney was just killed in a freak accident and it is six week until the election-they better act fast because they aren’t losing any seats to the right. The party quickly finds a new candidate: Nathan Zimmerman. Nathan is both an ardent public servant and a totally uninhibited leather-clad gay boy. Not too sure what to make of all this, Campaign Manager Antonio Marquez must decide whether to mount a campaign for this improbable but idealistic candidate, or sell out for a lucrative advertising career.
Oh, what shall he do?
Playwrights Black and Milton confessed they like happy endings, but this show is really about the journey; the madcap, oddball interactions between their characters and there’s more than a dash of romance. Black says, "Men who love men and a coalition of dykes on bikes is the play’s subculture. The show is flamboyant, out there, political and funny. We’re both optimists, I very much believe in happy endings- there is a message in there about overcoming obstacles. It is reflected in an amusing and palatable way." Milton brings an additional element to the play, "My vision as a playwright is to write strong roles for women and there are two fabulous women in this show-they are so much fun."
Black recalls, "Originally we had it set in San Francisco, but we realized the idea of being nervous about how to get a gay candidate elected-no matter how flamboyant-didn’t work there. So we came down to Orange County, picking names off the map at ran- dom and visiting them. We went down this street in downtown Garden Grove and saw an authentic and beautiful building; it was exactly what we needed for the set of our play-we reference a lot of local things, even the Orange County Transit Association (laughter). What? Orange County has one?" When asked about their collaborative process, they alternated sharing that partners must have a very, very, very clear outline. They use post-it notes and flip charts to create scenes and characters. Then they move around post-it notes and write their first draft. Black feels, "Writing the first draft is the most boring administrative procedure, it’s like following a recipe. You really want to try different things and see what happens, but you have to follow the recipe exactly to get the whole thing on paper first. After that it gets wild. The two of us start to read it aloud to each other, we assign parts and character voices and we read. We trade roles back and forth so we both get the experiences of the actor reading and the audience hearing the lines said."
Given their humor, easygoing conversation and passion for the theatre, consider heading to see "Strange Bedfellows" on Playwrights Night, Saturday, September 1. There will be an audience talkback with Black and Milton after the 8 p.m.
"Strange Bedfellows" runs Friday, August 17 through Saturday, September 8 at Theatre Out in the Empire Theatre, 202 N. Broadway (located in the Santa Ana Arts District). For tickets and more information call 714.220.7069
or go to theatreout.com.