Video: The Gold Dust Orphans
It’s a Tuesday night, and the basement of Machine, Fenway’s fabled gay dance club, is far from thumpa-thumping. The real bar may be dark, but over on the opposite wall, a man is hurling invectives at a hard-drinking raccoon puppet.
This is the last week of rehearsals for Pussy on the House, the Gold Dust Orphans’ dragged-out, tarted-up, absurdified adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ steamy classic, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. It’s a revival of a production first mounted in 2004 by the Orphans, a cross-dressing, classics-adapting theater troupe with an adoring and ever-growing local following.
The man behind it all is Ryan Landry, the founder/playwright/star/ringleader of the Orphans. Landry’s adapations are as loving as they are irreverent, and Pussy is no exception. Williams’ work is a big part of the Orphans’ repertoire (past productions include The Plexiglass Menagerie and A T Stop Named Denial). And Landry doesn’t just love the late, great playwright’s work; he once got soused with the guy.
“I actually met Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote when I was like 17 at a hustler bar in New York, and sat with them for a night of drinking,” Landry says during a break in rehearsal. “And I didn’t know who they were! I was so ridiculous and dumb. But they called me over to their table and I sat with them for a couple of hours. And I think Tennessee got tired and they took off and Truman passed out or something like that. But he was just very gentle and very sweet. I think he’s the greatest American playwright we’ve ever had.”
Pussy on the House is atthrough March 20.