November 27, 2008


Downtown drag sensation Linda SImpson has penned a new play set to open at La Mama next week. Though Linda and I have enjoyed a catty stage feud for well over a decade, I thoroughly enjoyed her production of THE TRANNY CHASE. I caught up with "the thinking man's drag queen" on Thanksgiving morning to chat about her latest venture into the theater.

B: Linda! Your new play is called THE BAD HOSTESS. Since your night time hostessing gigs have dwindled to a veritable standstill, am I to assume that your latest work is somewhat autobiographical?

L: Uh, yes. I’m playing a character, but she and I share a lot of common—we both started our drag careers on the East Village club scene and now must scramble for hosting jobs in a cruel world that’s unappreciative of true talent!

B: True TALENT? I guess that's where the similarities between you and the character end. Now ror those who may not be familiar with your first two plays THE TRANNY CHASE AND THE FINAL EPISODE--ie everyone currently alive--how would you describe your style as a playwright?

L: Both my previous plays and this one are dark comedies. I like mixing campy humor with serious subjects, such as politics, religion, death, sex, your dangerously expanding waistline, etc.

B: Ouch! Didja have to go there before my Thanksgiving pig-out? As an emcee, you've always shied way from performing numbers, whether lipsynched or live. Yet your latest endeavor promises a party which descends into, among other things, "despicable karaoke"? Might you be singing?

L: I don’t want to reveal too much, but theatergoers can breath a sigh of relief that I’m letting other cast members handle the music. Instead, I’m concentrating on my great skills as an actress, including trying to memorize my lines.

B: Audience members can also expect an anti-religious rant, which some clueless audience members (or is that redundant) might see as an odd choice for the world's the biggest christian holiday.

L: What better time to tweak religion than at Christmas, which stirs up so many mixed emotions in people about faith and how they were brought up to worship God?


L: But the play isn’t a one-sided argument against religion—there’s a debate that goes on between the characters, which includes a young man studying to be a minister.

L: The $15 ticket price is a great deal...of money for one of your "shows". Seriously, for a full-length play in a real theater, the cost is very reasonable. With even celebrated shows like HAIRSPRAY closing while other bigger theaters sit half-full, are you worried about a launching a new play in this financial climate?

L: La MaMa set the ticket price—the theater’s policy is to be accessible to all. If it was up to me I would have charged much, much more—perhaps $20—because I’m worth it.

B: I see that your cast includes Flloyd, who many remember as the the performer of WHAT MAKES A MAN A MAN? from WIGSTOCK: THE MOVIE. Chris Tanner is another local drag performer. Have there been any diva tantrums or backstage dirt you'd care to reveal?

L: Let me get back to you after the show. I don’t think it’s wise for me to risk provoking those two wonderfully complex and fiery individuals.

B: For the readers who don't live in the area and may miss the touring companies, how would you sum up the play's message?

L: More than anything, the play explores how our relationships with our parents influence our religious beliefs. My character’s father was a minister and now she’s an atheist. It’s a story of liberation, mixed with sadness and laughter, starring me in a new dress.

B: Stop the press! Let's hope it includes large, very floppy-brimmed hat with veil and a very high cowl neck!

L: You'd know more about cow's necks than I would since you have one. Or should I say a lack of one.

B: Click.

L: Bunny? Hello?


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