You Want to Suck What?
If you think Vampire Lesbians of Sodom means it's ladies night at the local goth club, then maybe it's time for some culture. Lucky for you, the Sol Theatre has just what you're looking for. As one of the longest-running off-Broadway plays in history, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom lives on in its latest South Florida incarnation.
Creator, author, and drag-queen icon Charles Busch debuted with VLS in 1984 and has formed a cult following with other plays such as Tales of the Allergist's Wife, The Lady in Question, and the camp-horror hit Psycho Beach Party (Busch played the cross-dressing cop in the movie version). The original play ran on a budget of $28 and tells the story of two fatally seductive vampires, played by Sol actors Daivd Tarryn-Grae (looming more than seven feet tall in costume) and Kala Kaminsky.
In typical time-travel love-story fashion, the vamps' vengeance for each other is outdone only by their egomaniacal will to survive. The play follows the two through time starting out in ancient Sodom and continuing in 1920s Hollywood and contemporary Las Vegas.
At the Sol, director Robert Hooker says it was a perfect match for the theater. "The title alone would attract people to the theater who might not have come here before," he says. "Also, you might say that we are in the 'gay mecca' of South Florida, and I wanted to get the gay audience in here to see it." Oddly, a mix of folks filled the seats on opening weekend, which was sold out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
"It seems to be attracting people who just want to have fun," Hooker says. "It's a party, it's a late-night freak show, and I think that's how Charles Busch intended it."
The play doesn't stop at the curtain's edge, and Tarryn-Grae encourages audience participation. In Sol Theatre tradition, the audience receives impromptu glasses of wine when Hooker rings the Magic Bell during the show.
Keeping with the original shoestring budget, all of the fabric that decorates the stage was donated, and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom is being held as a summertime "F-U-Ndraiser" to help the theater into the next season. "It's not like if we don't make money we have to do Fiddler on the Roof," Hooker explains. "We know that what we do is not going to appeal to a large number of people, and that's why we're here."
If history repeats itself and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom lives on, Hooker says they would love to do a late-night weekly showing, à la Rocky Horror. Are you a Sol Theatre virgin? Fear not, for Hooker assures a campy good time: "We haven't caused anyone to run screaming through the theater -- yet."
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