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An Interesting Production of Evan Johnson’s “Pansy”

An Interesting Production of Evan Johnson’s “Pansy”

 

New Conservatory Theatre Center under their Emerging Artist Program is presenting the world premiere of “Pansy” sub titled “Welcome to the Land of the Lost Boys” through June 29th. Artist in Residence Evan Johnson began researching and writing “Pansy” for the New Conservatory Theatre Center in 2010 along with collaborator and director Ben Randle as part of the Emerging Artist Program.

Evan Johnson spent research hours exploring the mystifying world of James M. Barrie the author of “Peter Pan” and the inspiration he drew from the young Davies brothers.  He interviewed 25 people who could speak of the “pansy male experience” from 1979 to 1993.

Michael (Evan Johnson) discovers a time capsule  in the basement of his home and  he looks through VHS tapes, audio cassettes and wrinkled party fliers including a gay bar called Neverland.  Parallels begin to emerge between his life and that of 90’s gay club kid Peter Pansy (Evan Johnson) who is Peter Pan alter ego.   As the twin narratives unfold, the audience is transported back and forth across a 20 year span of time in this one hour fast pace production.

Evan uses physical theatre, shadow play and performances art night club esthetics to heighten his historical drama.  However this production still looks like a work in progress. Evan Johnson is certainly a very talented person particularly when he plays Michael.   His take on a “lose boy” who is gay and not a clubber is excellent  He radiates sympathy for this young gay man.  He is also very good  as Peter Pansy the gay club person of the 90’s.  Maybe a little a much but again true to a person who loved clubbing during the 90’s.

One problem is the confusion of inserting J.M.Barrie’s Peter Pan into the production such as a ticking crocodile and using phrases over and over and over again until it become irritable. These tend to confuse the audience. Also there is the shadow dancing that is supposed to be Peter Pan dancing with his shadow.  This is clever but it goes on much too long. Also the ending where Michael is cleaning up the stage without dialogue goes on much too long.  Evan Johnson if he hopes to take this to out gay theatres need to cut down on the shadow dancing and find a better ending.

“Pansy” plays through June 29th at the New Conservatory Theatre Center.25 Van Ness at Market, San Francisco.  For tickets go to www.nctcsf.org  or call 415-861-8972

 

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