Homo Erratic

Three diverse plays explore the gay experience, with varying effectiveness

"Look, if we wanted to do this show to tickle some elitist circle of theater people, we'd do one night in New York City and invite all our snotty theater friends. We want real people to see this show. In New York, they're all consumed with the bottom line: 'How will they sell it? How long will it run?' So no one sees the work."

Commercial success isn't something Wynn is averse to. He's banking on Drake's fame to sell Bernat's show, which he calls "a solid piece of art that I really want to get out there." But his ace in the hole is Miss Coco Peru, a one-character piece that's been raking in rave reviews and piles of dough for several months in Los Angeles.

"This is not your standard gender illusionist crap," Wynn says, although in Miss Coco, playwright Clinton Leupp appears in full drag, talking about himself ("Think of this as a therapy session, and it's my turn to talk") and occasionally breaking into song. But instead of lip-synching to old Streisand discs and dishing dirt, Leupp spends the show's nearly two hours telling us why he's not a drag queen.

"I'm not some artificially created character," Leupp growls between shows at L.A.'s Masquer's Cabaret. "I'm a man in a dress who's talking about busting gender and how gay people are perceived by the masses." Leupp throws in a little drag theory, as well, like the history of the Native American berdache and how much estrogen a pregnant woman needs to create a gay fetus.

Wynn says he knows that people will come to see Miss Coco expecting a drag show, "but they'll leave having seen an evening that's about narcissism and self-disclosure."

Horwitz calls this "pretentious nonsense" and says that theater is successful "when you sell tickets."

Still, Wynn worries that plays like Making Porn don't do anything to forward the concept of gay theater. "You have to be able to get past the chance to just sell tickets to a gay audience if you're going to call this stuff art," he says. "Otherwise, all you've got is the usual crap about drag and sex and any old excuse to show men's wieners."

Making Porn continues through Sunday, October 19, at Planet Earth Multi-Cultural Theatre, 909 North Third Street. The Seductive Art of Becoming God and Famous begins Wednesday, October 22, and continues through Saturday, November 1, at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, 100 East McDowell. Miss Coco Peru plays from Wednesday, November 5, through Saturday, November 8, at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre. For more information, see the Performance listing in Thrills.

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