One night in the early seventies, I had the wonderful good fortune to see Charles Ludlam in his play "Eunuchs of the Forbidden City." I haven't been the same since. Growing up in Manhattan, I had been raised on a theatrical diet of Broadway musicals and comedies. Suddenly, I was confronted with a brilliant actor/playwright/director who combined a passion for Hollywood film, opera, nineteenth century theatre, burlesque and sexual politics into a unique theatrical art form. I was overcome.
After graduation from Northwestern, my best friend, Ed Taussig and I wanted to do more plays in our take of the Ludlam style of the Ridiculous. I wrote a short one-act parody of the Bette Davis/Miriam Hopkins film "Old Acquaintance" and booked us to perform it at a new wave dance club in Chicago called "La Mere Vipere." To give us a bit of glamour, Ed and I billed ourselves as the international beauties, Elsa and Shatze Van Allen. The play was in three scenes and told the story of two best friends, Kit and Millie, both novelists, who over thirty years become rivals professionally and in their love lives. At the end of the play, they raise a toast to themselves and their enduring if volatile relationship. "Old Coozies" was another opportunity to stretch my wings onstage, playing a flamboyant female role and learning how to produce a play on a shoe string. I see now that it was also an embryonic version of what would become years later "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom."
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Other Plays by Charles
Plays 1976 - 1982 Plays 1984 - 1989 Plays 1991 - 2009 Musicals Solo Performances
Auntie Mame Little Me The Maids
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