My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

Threesome: two gays, a straight woman, an agrophobe and a Dead Pussy get it on

by Drew Rowsome -

"When a straight woman and a gay man share the same person in their life," says Steven Elliott Jackson of The Same, one of the plays composing Threesome: An Evening of One Acts, "And they compete for that person, sort of manipulate, they wind up sabotaging their own relationship." Of course it doesn't help that there is also drunken cross-gender sex involved . . .

"I'm always watching and observing what is happening around me," says Jackson "There are laughs and tears in all three shows. I have to be invested. I want to be doing stuff that is challenging, that's what keeps the fire going. Even in a straight-up comedy, I need to find the emotional moment, the life experience." 

Jackson's d├ębut was Real Life Superhero, which, while perhaps over-ambitious and tentative, heralded the arrival of an intriguing playwright. His and Kenneth Haigh's company, Minmar Gaslight Productions, kept busy with a series of Fringe productions and children's shows - "I love the family shows but I looked at them and they're all heterosexual," says Jackson. "I'm working on a gay fairy tale." - and a well-received production of Jackson's play The State of Tennessee, about an aspiring writer's encounter with the legendary Tennessee Williams. Jackson's politics and respect for his forefathers, continued with a reading of a script, Proud at Glad Day Bookshop.

"It's an adaptation of The Boys in the Band," says Jackson. "I'm a huge fan of the play. When I came out, lots of guys go to the bars, I went to the library. The first thing I checked was The Celluloid Closet and that's how I learned about The Boys in the Band. I had to watch that movie and I fell in love. For Proud I kept the structure similar, eight men, but instead of a birthday party it's a Pride party, and a stranger with secrets is invited. We'd love to produce it but I want to write to Mr Crowley and get permission. I just have too much respect."

After "doing readings for years," it was time to hit the boards. "We did a cabaret fundraiser at the Red Sandcastle Theatre and it was just what we needed," says Jackson. "This is where I want to be." The three one-acts that comprise Threesome were, after a polish, ready to go. "By Myself But Alone is about social anxiety. I got stuck going to a house party I wasn't planning to go to and had to leave after 45 minutes. It's a very personal piece but people keep saying, 'That happened to me too.' We used to be a huge bar culture but now we're so used to dating apps."

The third in the Threesome is, "The most interesting rehearsals I've had in my life. We talk for 15 minutes after about the ideas. It's about cat-calling, a man who gets drunk and says these horrible things to a 19-year-old girl then the mother comes to his door and says he killed her. It ended up being five characters with five very different perspectives. It's very funny, people get great joy out of it. I was going to call it Dead Cat but my partner said, 'No. Dead Pussy will get more interest.'" 

Jackson is eager to share "those experiences we all connect with. A fairly authentic experience with these characters and a chance to find yourself among them." And who can resist an invitation to a Threesome?

Threesome runs Wed, Feb 16 to Sat, Feb 16 at the Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen St E.