HOT EVENTS MGT MAGAZINE VISITING ARCHIVE MGT PARTNERS MGT TEAM
My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

Two Kittens & A Kid: A Gay Man Raising His Inner Diva - Christopher Wilson, his daughter, divas and two Ryans

by Drew Rowsome

"When my daughter first moved in, we gave her two kittens," says Christopher Wilson. "Three years later she ran away, my husband left me for a woman, and I was left with the pussies." Two pussies and the genesis of a musical: Two Kittens & A Kid: A Gay Man Raising His Inner Diva.

Wilson had never planned to parent but, as the show explains, "The child chose me." They became "two white dads, one black daughter" and a lot of learning, loving and comedy ensued. "I grew up as a single child, no sisters. My experience with teenage girls was nil. Especially of biological functions." Cue a song about the mysteries of menstruation. "My daughter was a funny, bright, intelligent girl so there are lots of anecdotes. Part of the writing was to honour my journey with her. The stories, the fun, what I learned."

As well as acquiring parenting skills "there were specific things about race and culture. Like hair care. I knew nothing about black hair. And it's a whole thing. African-American women make up something like 35 - 40 percent of the population but account for 90 percent of the hair care market. There's all these things that caucasians don't have to do." But there were more serious issues, like the inspiration for the song "The 'N' Word." 

"My daughter dropped the 'N' word. As a term of endearment." Wilson and his husband worked through the pitfalls of "not limiting her cultural and historical heritage" but translating the experience into theatre/cabaret was dicey. "As a white man writing about life with a black girl, I didn't want to be accused of culturally appropriating my daughter's heritage. It's a delicate line." The solution was to enlist Ryan G Hinds. "It was important to have a person of colour. He's a smart writer and artist. And a black man." Together they reworked the book and "the writing went through a huge metamorphosis."

The subtitle - Wilson notes that the word "diva" is always a good marketing tool - gained prominence as they explored the concept. "There are lots of stereotypes within the gay community and one of them is the obsession with black divas. I realized that the word 'diva' for me was being synonymous with black. The strong women who subconsciously I thought had overcome adversity. Who are my inner divas. And obviously my daughter." It became about the two of them finding their inner strength, their inner divas. "I had to find a way to be okay with how things are," says Wilson.

Wilson ended up with "a 50 minute book show with a very chronological narrative. All original: book, music and lyrics. Seven scenes, eight musical bits and a lot of underscoring. I was terrified. I've been performing for 20 years and I'd never done a one-man show. I'd never been so vulnerable. I needed a director to ensure the text and song were combined in an organic manner." He turned to Ryan Kelly for whom he had written the hit musical Living with Henry. "He's my dearest and closest friend, a great actor and so fucking smart. And he's flexing his directorial muscles. He was nurturing and guided development." It takes a village to raise a one-man show. 

Two Kittens & A Kid d├ębuted at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival where it earned polarized reviews. "Every person of colour that saw the show was complimentary, but the English middle-class writers were uncomfortable with a white man talking about black issues. Some of them were quite derogatory. It's as if the class system has crossed over into race." Wilson shrugs it off and is looking forward to bringing the show to a Buddies audience. And it is an eager audience - the first show sold out and a matinee has been added. "It's not a Broadway-bound cabaret," says Wilson. "It's my story and how much it means to me."

Two Kittens & A Kid: A Gay Man Raising His Inner Diva plays at 3 and 8pm on Sat, Oct 1 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St. buddiesinbadtimes.com 2kittensandakid.com

26

RELATED ARTICLES / ARCHIVE:
- Fortune and Men's Eyes: sex and violence at 50 - Dec '17
- Review: The Boy Who Brought Down a Bathhouse - Nov '17
- Plumbum returns in A Christmas Carol!- Nov '17
- Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters haunts the AGO- Nov '17
- trace: How Jeff Ho's mother created a diva - Nov '17
- Group Hex Vol 2 launches with the terrifying Hallow-Queen - Oct '17
- Legends of Horror reveals the beauty in Halloween horror - Oct '17
- Assassins: Ryan Kelly joins a killer cast - Oct '17
- Screemers has an anniversary party and it is a happy horror - Oct '17
- Kawa Ada returns to the starlit world of Salt-Water Moon - Oct '17
- Toronto After Dark Film Festival: horror, sci-fi, camp and buckets of gore - Oct '17
- The CAMINOS Festival presents Augusto Bitter's CHICHO - Oct '17
- Darker Harder Chocolate: longer, juicier and sexier - Aug '17
- Erased - Jul '17
- Pearle Harbour's Chautauqua pitches a tent at SummerWorks - Jul '17
- Review:Flooded - Jul '17
- Toronto Fringe 2017 - Jun '17
- Stewart Legere at Buddies - Jun '17
- Forte: 20 years of song - May '17
- No Elephant Show - May '17
- The Youth/Elders Project - May '17
- Lavander Railroad - May '17
- The Case of the Golden Purse - May '17
- It's All Tru - Apr '17
- Hot Docs decides to Take A Walk On The Wildside - Apr '17
- Shakesbeers Showdown - Apr '17
- Jeff Ho, Prince Hamlet, Pearle Harbour... - Apr '17
- Buddies and Katinka Kature do some Spring Queening - Apr '17
- Kinky Jesus Competition - Apr '17
- Holy Cow(s)! - Mar '17
- Sousatzka - Feb '17
- C'est Moi - Jan '17
- Suitcases - Nov '16
- The Clergy Project - Oct '16
- Uncovered: Queen & Bowie - Oct '16
- Slut: Keith Cole hosts a three-way - Oct '16
- Halloween Haunt 2016 - Oct '16
- ImagineNATIVE - Oct '16
- Songs and Screams 2 - Oct '16
- Tomson Highway reveals the secrets of The (Post) Mistress - Oct '16
- Donnarama joins the HallowQueens to amp up the horror and fun of Screemers - Oct '16
- Monster Rock Orchestra - Oct '16
- Two Kittens & A Kid - Sep '16
- Follow Your Heart - Sep '16
- The Mowglis - Sep '16
- Transformation: G Elliott Simpson's photography - Aug '16
- Bryan Cheatham helps Chippendales... - Aug '16
- Emmanuel Cyr - Jul '16
- Songs Of Screams - Jul '16
- Bright Lights - Fringe - Jun '16
- The Taming of the Shrew - Jun '16
- Fringe Festival 2016 - Jun '16
- Bianca Del Rio calls Madonna a cun* - Jun '16
- Inside Out - May '16
- Kiss Rocks Vegas rocks - May '16
- Rocking Horse Winner - May '16
- How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town - May '16
- Closet - May '16
- Scarberia - Apr '16
- The Terrible Parents - Apr '16
- August: Osage County - Apr '16
- Kinky Jesus competition - Mar '16
- No Strings (Attached) - Mar '16
- A line in sand - Mar '16
- A Zine About Family - Feb '16
- Footsteps Accross Canada - Feb '16
- Threesome - Feb '16
- Brandon Crone - Feb '16
- Evel Dead - Feb '16
- Salt-Water Moon - Feb '16
- 2016 Rhubarb Festival - Feb '16
- Stephen Jackman-Torkoff: making art and Progress - Jan '16
- Something Strange - Jan '16
- Into The Woods - Jan '16
- Toruk - Thomas Evan - Jan '16
- Heart of Steel - Jan '16
- Toruk - Dec '15
- Facing Home - Nov '15
- Kawa Ada - Nov '15
- Late Company - Nov '15
- Taylor Dayne - Nov '15
- Ties That Bind - Oct '15
- Camios Fetival - Oct '15
- Graham Scott Fleming - Oct '15
- Screemers '15 - Oct '15
- More Dark Hard Chocolate - Oct '15
- The Rise and Fall of Civilization - Oct '15
- Oasis Love - Sep '15
- TRANSformation Project - Sep '15
- Stonewall - Sep '15
- Cabbagetown Tour of Homes - Sep '15
- In Case Of Nothing - Sep '15
- Jacob Niedzwiecki - Aug '15
- Brooke Lynn Hytes - Aug '15
- Michael Caldwell - Jul '15
- Evalyn Parry - Jul '15
- Kris + Dee - Jul '15
- The Dora Awards - Jun '15
- First Time Last Time - Jun '15
- Jeremy Jordan - Jun '15
- Coming Out Queer - May '15
- Ballad of the Burning Star - May '15
- Christian Denice - May '15
- Adamaolozza - Apr '15
- locus - Apr '15
- Keith Cole - Apr '15
- Cavalia - Odysseo - Apr '15
- Njo Kong Kie - Mar '15
- Mandy Goodhandy is Tranny! - Mar '15
- Time Stands Still - Mar '15
- Bare - Mar '15
- My Dinner with Casey Donovan - Mar '15
- Mysteriously Yours... - Feb '15
- Piccolo Diavolo - Feb '15
- Progress Festival -Feb '15
- Girlesque Expo - Jan '15
- Into The woods - Jan '15
- Rhubarb Festival 2015 - Jan '15
- CircleJerk - Nov '14
- Cinderella - Nov '14
- The Art of Building a Bunker - Oct '14
- Halloween Haunt 2014 - Oct '14
- Constant Bernard - Sep '14
- Kurious - Sep '14
- John Waters 101 - Jul '14
- Summerworks Festival - Jul '14
- Viva Cabaret & Komunka - Jun '14
- Happiness With Side Of... - Jun '14
- Writing In The Sand - May '14
- Queer Bathroom Stories - May '14
- Getting intimate with Kris + Dee - Apr '14
- Auction at Waddington's - Apr '14
- Review: Francis Bacon - Apr '14
- Francis Bacon - Mar '14
- Around - Mar '14
- MGT & Thom Allison - Mar '14
- the Boylympics - Feb '14
- Rhubarb gets the gold - Feb '14
- 360 Screening - Feb '14
- Edith Head - Jan '14
- A Crackpuppy Christmas - Dec '13
- The pride and passion of Brian Bantugan - Dec '13
- The neon lights are bright on Broadsway - Dec '13
- From Russia with divas - Dec '13
- Genres collide in creepy Gothic glory - Nov '13
- People are Horrible Wherever You Go - Nov '13
- Bent beauty supreme - Nov '13
- Christmas off-to-school shopping - Oct '13
- Diving into The Deep Ending - Oct '13
- What Lurks Within - Oct '13
- Art Of Scare - Oct '13
- A message from the Action Man - Sep '13
- Gay Sherlock & Blood, guts and jazz hands - Sep '13
- Summerworks Festival - Aug '13
- A light and frothy disaster flick - Jul '13
- The Naked Truth About High Shool - Jun '13
- Lest we forget: Raid of the Rainbow Lounge - Jun '13
- Cats & A Clown Invasion - May '13
- Roller coaster therapy works - May '13