An Otherwise Hopeless Eveningby Travis Chamberlain & Joseph Keehn II with plays by William Inge
DARK COMEDY / VISUAL ART
Four one-act plays by William Inge take a kaleidoscopic look at unrequited love between men, and conservative Midwest culture. This theatrical mash-up, performed by an all-male ensemble, taps the light and dark humor running through four outrageous stories of pain and joy.
directed by Travis Chamberlain
art installation by Joseph Keehn II
featuring drag performer De De Deville
A Hidden SplendorKansas City, MO
Illustration by David Chick
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"I'd give anything to see it."
— Hilton Als, theatre critic for The New Yorker
"A theatrical gem... Something like perfection."
— Don Adams, Kansas City Star
About The Show
An Otherwise Hopeless Evening is a site-responsive collaboration between theater, art, and LGBTQ history. Four newly anthologized William Inge plays trace four stories of extraordinary men struggling to be themselves. The show is staged within an exhibition of new artworks tackling the complex relationship between Tennessee Williams and William Inge, and is performed by an all-male ensemble of Kansas City-based actors.
At times campy and unhinged, at other times melodramatic and deathly serious, these works reveal Inge's struggle to reconcile his sexuality with a conservative Midwestern upbringing. Unlike Tennessee Williams, Inge kept his sexuality private.
Director Travis Chamberlain and artist Joseph Keehn II created this all-new production last year, first performed at the site of the former Jewel Box Lounge in Kansas City (the first venue for female impersonation in the Midwest 1948-1872). For further information on the Kansas City production, read more here in OUT Magazine.
De De Deville, Pitch magazine's "Best Drag Queen of Kansas City," appears alongside Andre Du Broc, Ray Ettinger, David Wayne Reed, Brad Shaw, and Justin Speer. The performers shift rapidly between characters, settings, and time periods.
In one moment, an actor plays a nosy landlady in The Tiny Closet, an absurdist comedy about privacy at the height of the McCarthy era, and in the next moment transforms into a handsome gay hustler in The Killing, a psychological thriller about suicide and seduction.
Deville appears in 'boy drag' for the first time in eighteen years, portraying a closeted mortician in The Boy in the Basement, the play which has been credited as the inspiration for the hit TV show "Six Feet Under."
And in The Love Death we meet our host for the evening: Byron Todd, a flamboyant, self-entitled, and profoundly misunderstood artist and drama queen, played intermittently throughout the night by every member of the ensemble.
Underscored with melodramatic abandon on a vintage 1950s organ, An Otherwise Hopeless Evening [of Very Gay and Extremely Grim Short Plays by William Inge] offers audiences a fierce dose of farce, thrills, melodrama, and unflinching satire.
About The Creative Team