Damon Dering, Triple Threat

A Nearly Naked profile

You'll never find him, as Lee Grant famously uttered in The Valley of the Dolls, "posing undraped on the stage." But director/actor/artistic director Damon Dering, who gave up life as a drag queen to co-found Nearly Naked Theatre some half-dozen years ago, gets naked in other ways. Like here, where he bares all about porn stars, bad acting, and leaving an audition in an ambulance.

I knew I wanted to be in show business when I stood on a table in a restaurant where my father was performing and tried to sing louder than he was.

The worst thing about being an actor is that people think it's a euphemism for being unemployed. Which it is.

Damon Dering
Damon Dering

My worst audition ever was my audition for Hair at Phoenix Theatre when I was 16 years old. I dislocated my knee in the hallway while rehearsing my "Jesus Christ Superstar" audition piece, and when I fell to the ground, everyone thought I was kidding. Nothing like leaving an audition in an ambulance.

The happiest day in my life was opening night of Equus at Nearly Naked Theatre. When you dream about a play for 15 years, it's amazing to see it actually go up better than you dreamed. (The second happiest day of my life occurred six days later, when that hack from New Times actually liked the show.)

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would be Jenna Jameson.

It's not entirely true, but I sometimes tell people that I didn't see them in that horrible play that they were so horrible in.

The fictional character I am most like is Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror. (But the question really is: Am I like him because I'm a mad genius of incredible talent with an insurmountable ego who just wants everything to be beautiful? Or because I run around in women's underwear and sleep with everyone I meet?)

I am utterly terrified of spiders. I just know someday I'll have to direct or star in Arachno-Homo-Phobia . . . Eight legs, two snaps, and an attitude!

Being naked onstage is actually the biggest commitment I have ever asked an actor to make. There's a lot of vulnerability up there, no matter how confident you are in your body.

I laugh uncontrollably at bad acting -- which can be really inappropriate if I'm attending a drama.

The one thing I absolutely refuse to do onstage is vomit or fart. Oh, what the hell? Anything for the Art.

Something I have never admitted to anyone before is that I sometimes wonder if I missed my calling as a Jesuit priest.

Currently I am reading Phaedra's Love by Sarah Kane. Shocking. Truly shocking.

The first time I got drunk, I declared I was Aquaman, and leapt into a koi pond in the middle of December. I don't drink much now.

Appearing in a musical dressed as Mae West is fun; however, six-pound boobs and five-and-a-half-inch platform shoes are bad for the sacroiliac.

Like my mother used to say, "That wasn't the smartest thing to do, now, was it?"

 
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