Evan Johnson is currently working on a new play, PANSY.
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Commissioned by New Conservatory Theatre’s Emerging Artist Program under the direction of Ben Randle, PANSY explores the nature of make believe, San Francisco gay male lineage and Peter Pan’s shadow.
PANSY had an invite only workshop showing in November 2010 and is currently undergoing some structural changes as well as some alterations in tone and performance style.
Originally, during the first phase of the process, Evan spent research hours exploring the mystifying world of James M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan) and the inspiration he drew from the young Davies brothers. In November 2010 a reading was given of PANSY infront of an audience invited to listen and provide feedback.
Evan discusses PANSY work in progress during Phase One:
The second phase of the process will conclude with a more performative and further workshopped presentation of PANSY in January 2012. This current phase is keeping Evan busy with his investigation of his surroundings, interviewing 25 people who can speak of the “pansy male experience” from 1979 to 1993 as well as on life before, during and after the devastating effects of AIDS in his city of San Francisco. “I work in the Castro, supposedly the gayest neighborhood in the world, at a coffee shop that’s been here since the 70′s. When I talk to the ‘regulars’ about the past, the reactions vary from shell-shock to greif, to guilt, anger and avoidance. I am looking for the shadow of a make believe lineage, a queer family bloodline which for some reason feels real to me. I can’t help but see ghosts in blue Levi 501 jeans in the store windows or watch music videos on Youtube from the 80′s without thinking, ‘This was going on while so many people were sick and dying?!’ I am curious about what was happening in the world while I was growing up, so much was hiding in the shadows. All of this death and dying. I want to make a pansy ghost frozen in time. A boy who never can grow up who is magically real. Someone I have to grow up to pretend how to be.” This growing up is happening as Evan develops this piece it seems. Evan is interviewing Cleve Jones, the founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, noted photographer Danny Nicoletta, a diverse array of San Francisco based drag queens, neighborhood folks and queer elders. This research is being applied in the creation of a new fictional character, who will premiere in PANSY, who died of AIDS in 1993, the year Evan was born. This new “ghost” character, Peter Pan and Evan himself are the three characters whose voices make up the current working draft of PANSY. The end result promises to be surprising, theatrical and fresh.This is the final phase of script development before performance.
How You Can Help PANSY during Phase Two / A CALL FOR INTERVIEWEES:
Hello! Thanks for visiting my website and checking out PANSY my current performance work in development. I am conducting interviews which will hopefully generate and inspire images, locations, bits of dialogue, character details etc.
I am super inspired by where this project has taken me and I am so happy that this solo play making task has recently become a whole lot more collaborative!
WHO I AM LOOKING FOR: People over 40 who are willing to talk to me about San Francisco and/or gay life from 1985 to 1993, the local and personal impact of AIDS, art that they were making at the time, the specific music that they danced to, places they went to socialize, favorite late night food places that aren’t around anymore, relationships, etc.
I promise to respect any and all boundaries stated by participants. Audio will be recorded on a small digital recorder and not uploaded or shared in any way without permission.
I AM ALSO LOOKING FOR: Photos, ephemera, time capsules, video cassettes, audio tapes, etc. anything captured and frozen in time. Again the dates I’m interested in are 1985-1993. My first 7 years of life. Yes I’m 25.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED: Please send an email to: email@example.com and state the best time(s) to get together during the following days: Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (these are my free-er days) – I am trying to finish with interviews by November 1st.
Eventually all of this footage and material will aid in the process of creating a theatrical and compelling narrative – a time capsule of San Francisco and one (fictional) man’s 7 year battle with AIDS. His pretend life ends here in 1993, the year I was born. I am juxtaposing my first 7 years of (real) life – and, in particular, my childhood obsession with Peter Pan – with this magically real but fictional character who tragically never “grows up”. In “Pansy” there is another running thread as well – the character of Peter Pan himself who is still desperately seeking his shadow. The three voices (worlds) are going to be woven together to then create a brand new script, the final production will utilize live shadow play frequently on a backlit screen and an original soundscape.
Staged Reading – Date Announced:
by Evan Johnson directed by Ben Randle
Staged Reading January 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm. CLICK HERE to reserve your complimentary ticket.
The World premiere of PANSY will take place at the historic LGBT playhouse, The New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, CA in 2012.
Get on Evan Johnson’s mailing list for more updates and announcements.
Director Ben Randle’s Artist Bio:
Ben Randle recently directed Into the Clear Blue Sky by LC Lee for Sleepwalkers Theatre; Treefall, Don’t Ask, Doubt (BATCC Nomination, Best Director), Baptized to the Bone, and Friends are Forever at New Conservatory Theatre, and was an Artist in Residence in their Emerging Artists Program; Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dionysus (DIY Residency, Mama Calizo Voice Factory), Come As You Are! (Brava! for Women in the Arts!); Thrillpeddlers’ Shocktoberfest 2010 (assoc. dir.); Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, A One Night Stand (Don’t Tell Mama in NYC, Eureka Theater, Rrazz Room); Katya, Back In The USSR (Rrazz Room); Joe Besecker’s Loving Fathers (SF Fringe, Best of Fringe 2008); and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (Next Stage). Ben has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University and was a member of Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab 2010. This fall, he will direct Chalk Boy by Josh Conkel at Impact Theater in Berkeley.
ABOUT NCTC’s “EMERGING ARTISTS PROGRAM”
Mission: To develop and produce new work by emerging actors, singers, and writers.
Objective: Provide stipend based residencies at NCTC to nurture the creativity of queer artists.