By Jessica Pugliese, for the Lambda
The first show of the Thorneloe University’s 2015-16 theatre season ran five nights in September, and broke down the walls of conventional theatre.
Drag Queens on Trial is a dramatic comedy that follows the lives of three fabulous drag queens as they reveal their exciting and romantic lives.
All three are charged with the ‘crime’ of being a drag queen. Between their time on the stand and their primping in their dressing room, audiences learn of their bold confidence despite the way society views them.
Alec Peroff, Devin Reid, and Garrett Carr graced the stage in high heels and dresses, truly embodying Gilbert’s dynamic characters Lana, Judy and Marlene.
Through numerous rehearsals, they trained to act in heels and dresses, practiced many new makeup and hair techniques, and donned stockings and pearls as they transformed themselves into drag queens for the first time in their acting careers.
“It’s a very important piece of queer theatre. It’s Sky Gilbert’s first hit and he is the predominant LGBTQ playwright in Canada. I think it’s important that we not only do mainstream plays but plays from the margins as well to show people that there is more than one type of theatre going on here,” said director Ian Maclennan, who brought this piece of queer theatre to the Thorneloe stage.
Maclennan also noted that the audience’s reactions to this daring piece of theatre have been “very queer positive and queer friendly,” often involving “laughing and grinning, and talking about what a wonderful job the ladies do.”
Devin Reid, third year acting student at Laurentian Univeristy, was among those who performed in the production. Reid stated his belief that this kind of theatre is a “huge deal” for the Laurentian community, and Sudbury as a whole.
“Things for the LGBTQ community have come a long way in the past decade alone and this is just another step towards furthering that cause. (On) opening night the adrenaline is running high after the show is over and we walk out into that lobby still in full makeup, and they just loved every second of it. It’s thrilling and exciting to see that it’s getting the message that we want to get across to the audience and that they are enjoying themselves.”
It’s clear that after a successful run on stage, the welcoming of such a bold piece dealing with a variety of LGBTQ issues speaks volumes for Laurentian as both an academic atmosphere but also as a vessel for art and expression.
Though prejudice is far from eradicated, Laurentian seems to be taking steps in the right direction for creating an environment where everyone can dare to be themselves.
-Photos by Ken Salah