Thursday, March 5, 2015

FRIGID New York Interview - Dandy Darkly of "Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic!"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic!
Photo credit: Laura Pardo 2014

Dandy Darkly is an internationally acclaimed cabaret showman and ribald raconteur of supernatural, sentimental, sleazy ghost stories. He’s a Southern gothic sissy with a penchant for pop culture and the paranormal. “How ghost stories should be told.” The Stage “A decidedly wicked storyteller.” The New York Times Dandy Darkly is the new painted face of New York storytelling.

Tell me a little about your show.

“Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic!” is a delightful, frightful fistful of fables with a focus on the classical interpretations of womanhood, the maiden, the mother, the crone, and also homosexual misogyny – how some gay men build women up, only to tear them back down. My style of storytelling is poetic and lyrical, also chilling and hilarious. Time Out called it - “Unlike anything else at the Fringe, or indeed elsewhere.”

What inspired you to create it? 

At the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe I had a post-show encounter with a young woman, an audience member, who accused me of misogyny and “celebrating the murder of women” in one of my highly wrought, satiric stories. I explained to her that I, actually, celebrate the murder of everyone – men, women, children, even pets – but she was unconvinced and we left it at that. However her accusation lingered with me, so I began to explore the notion of “Pussy Panic!” – the irrational fear gay men have of the vagina – and the show developed from there.

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

"Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic!" was written initially for the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe, but I’d be amiss not to thank Dixon Place HOT! Festival and The Celebration of Whimsy Theater where the show had two incredible NYC runs. Ian Bjorklund is my wonderful director. He’s been so helpful in guiding my focus. And I’m also blessed to work with some amazing musicians on this show: Adam Tendler (88x50), Rachel Blumberg (Arch Cape, Death Vessel) and Bryce Edwards (Boy Crazy, The Isotoners). And Laura Pardo for her exquisite photographs.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

Apart from a room of Broadway producers, fighting over me like feral cats for a can of tuna – I suppose Dandy Darkly’s ideal audience is one with a love of truly immersive story telling – an audience eager to have their expectations absolutely turned upside down. I think contemporary audiences have a pre-conceived idea of “storytelling” as this sort of Moth-style anecdotal navel gazing. I’m ready to lead the storytelling revolution.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

Elvira Mistress of the Dark. Wayland Flowers and Madame. William Castle. Bret Somers. Leslie Jordan. Alf.

What shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?

I’m very eager to see “300 to 1” starring Matt Panesh. He’s a phenomenal UK storyteller who I know from the Edinburgh Fringe. Likewise “Cootie Catcher” is such a great show. Its written by and stars the talented Lucas Brooks and directed by David Drake. Other shows on my list include “ERIK”, “The ChristmApocalypse” and “An Evening of Not-So-Quiet Despair with Satan.” I enjoy work that's both horrific and comedic.
What is next for you in 2015?
After the Frigid Festival I’m putting “Pussy Panic!” to bed for a while and I’m returning to the Edinburgh Fringe with a brand new show. It’s called “Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy!” and themes will explore hypersensitivity, PTSD, gun violence and the good ole U. S. of A. Can’t wait!

Lightning round

Favorite theatre professional? John Cameron Mitchell

Current show you would love to be involved with? La Soirée

Your dream show to be involved with? Broadway debut of Showgirls

Who would you most like to have a chance to work with? Peaches Christ

Your best theatre experience? Fun Home

Your worst theatre experience? High school senior year... The Crucible

Person you’d most like to thank for getting you where you are today? Grandpappy Darkly who told me my first Georgia ghost stories. I sure miss him.

To find out more about Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic!, visit the FRIGID New York website.

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