Langham Court Theatre

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CVVictoria THEATRE: OUTstages: Camp goes to camp- by Alisa Gordaneer

Victoria’s Intrepid Theatre’s OUTstages festival of queer theatre

A Quiet Sip of Coffee (or, this is not the play we’ve written)  It’s the kind of idea that sounds like it could go horribly wrong: A play about a play, performed within a play, about a play that really happened, and about things that really happened, performed by two actors who also happen to be the guys who originally performed the play that the play is about, and the guys who things really happened to. If not handled with the careful adeptness of a bomb squad, the whole concept could explode into chaos. Fortunately, the “self-proclaimed gay-straight best firend duo” of Anthony Johnston and Nathan Schwartz has the chops to pull this off with aplomb—the only bombshells that get loose are well-timed plot points that make this story, well, a blast. In a nutshell, the play is about Anthony and Nathan, two recently graduated actors (playing themselves), who thought it would be hi-lar-i-ous to spend two weeks at a gay conversion camp, experiencing its religion-based behaviour modification methods meant to help men “overcome” their same-sex attractions. They talk their way into a free stay by saying they’re working on a play about a werewolf, which they’ll then perform for the camp’s residents. But their main objective is really to take the piss out of the camp’s director and his weird homophobia. Things, of course, go sideways. By the time the two weeks is up, the once-BFFs drive home in silence, not to speak again for six years, until they’re tricked into meeting up to write a play about their experience of putting on the campy werewolf play for the creepy camp. It’s not a spoiler to say it’s an awkward moment, to say the least. Overall, the story is fascinating, and the idea that it’s based on real life experiences makes it all the more compelling, as versions of the truth come through in layers as the actors reminisce and argue about what really happened. And it’s also fascinating, because logic tells us that the play ends happily, since look, there’s Johnston and Schwartz, friends again, up on stage performing the play. As for the performance, these guys are on fire. They’re lively physical comedians, fearless storytellers and kick-butt improvisers (although the improv segments, meant to replicate campy skits performed at the camp, are possibly the weakest part of the show). Johnston plays himself and takes on multiple roles as various other campers, while Schwartz brings the creepy camp director to life as well as performing as himself. A minimal set, judicious use of audio-visual, and stark lighting help the focus stay on the actors and their story. Which is one worth telling, and even more, one worth seeing—a positive harbinger for even more good things to come in Intrepid’s new OutStages festival. Don’t miss the final performance of this show, Sunday July 12 at 7pm. TICKETS/MORE INFO: CLICK HERE PSSST: You might also like THIS