Thursday, July 15, 2010

The men of Mergatroyd Productions

Daniel Genalo as "Buddy" in JULIA & BUDDY
Nick Fondulis as "Angry Jesus" in PERSONAL JESUS
Nat Cassidy as "St. John Rivers" in JANE EYRE
Nick Lowe as "Tam Lin" in TAM LIN
Mike Giorgio as "Oliver" in SODOM & GOMORRAH: THE ONE-MAN SHOW
Greg Oliver Bodine as "Rochester" in JANE EYRE
One thing that Mergatroyd Productions does especially well is glorify masculine pulchritude. And that's because I am a big fan of masculine pulchritude and I call the shots for Mergatroyd. If a straight man was calling the shots things would be very different.

I know this from hard experience. If my play is directed by a man I invariably will have to fight with him to ensure that the actor cast in a role of a man who is supposed to be attractive (especially to female characters) actually is attractive. Now I have fairly wide-ranging taste as can be seen in the images above of men who have had roles in Mergatroyd Productions shows - and charisma counts for alot - but he has to have something going on that women will find attractive.

Two examples to illustrate: Edward Einhorn, the world's biggest asshole, tried to cast an obviously effeminate man in the role of TAM LIN in the 2004 production. The effeminate man was OK looking but he would be read immediately as gay by any woman - and not just as himself - his Tam Lin read as gay too. I insisted on the beautiful Nick Lowe who had already played TL in the 2003 production.

The only director whose direction of a play of mine I've really liked is Oliver Butler - he directed my BLESSINGS OF THE SUN GOD in 2003. But even he failed on the masculine pulchritude front - he cast a very average-looking guy in a role which the script clearly describes as beautiful - the character was based on my gorgeous friend Earl Rich. But since I wasn't producing, I didn't make an issue out of it.

Straight men are resistant to casting attractive men for two reasons - homophobia - sometimes unacknowledged homophobia - and resentment of masculine beauty. Some men will go so far as to claim that they don't know what a good-looking guy looks like - you know, because they are soooo extreeeeemly heterosexual. They do know. But it is not in their ego's interest to promote a man whom women will be clearly sexually attracted to.

There's also the fact that since men have been running the world for the past several millenia and have had things their own way, our culture will naturally tend to favor the straight male view of beauty - famously known as "the male gaze" - over straight female or gay male views.

And because men are still running everything - especially in the arts - the straight male gaze still dominates. You need look no further than the recently-released movie "Cyrus" to see that I'm right. The double-standard is alive and well because NO woman as unattractive as John C. Riley would ever be cast in a romantic lead role in a movie. We won't have equality until the beauty double-standard is gone.

Straight women need to see sexy men on stage every bit as much as straight men need to see sexy women. All that crap about women not being as visual as men is strictly evolutionary psychology propaganda.

But there's more to it than just casting an attractive man - you have to play up his attractiveness. You have to make sure his costume is flattering and if he has a nice body, let him flaunt it. His hair has to look nice and he should wear at least some make-up.

And finally there's the role itself - it has to let the sexy man strut his stuff. You have to be able to understand why the female character wants him so much, and not just because the script says so.