In Evan Johnson’s acclaimed solo play shadows stir in modern day San Francisco when Michael discovers a time capsule in his basement. As Michael looks through VHS tapes, audio cassettes and wrinkled party fliers, parallels begin to emerge between his life and that of 90’s gay club kid Peter Pansy.

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"Johnson (understands) the dark undertow that is characteristic of Barrie's play and has made good use of it. His "Peter Pansy" does a wonderful job of evoking the experience of a generation of "lost boys" facing their mortality in the midst of an out of control and fabulous party."
- Charles Kruger, examiner.com

“'Pansy' explores (the) complexities of gay culture during the AIDS crisis while helping the current generation feel closer to the past, which is more fulfilling than hanging on to an unending present."
- Caitlin Kelley, The Daily Californian

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PRODUCTION HISTORY:

PANSY was developed under the auspices of New Conservatory Theatre Center’s Emerging Artists Program (2010-2013). The World Premiere of Pansy was on June 14, 2013 followed by a sold-out 8 week run. PANSY has been performed in San Francisco (NCTC, SAFEHouse for the Arts) and Blue Lake, CA (Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre) as well as Portland, OR (Post5 Theatre) and New York City (The United Solo Festival at Theatre Row).
 

ABOUT THE WRITER/PERFORMER:


EVAN JOHNSON is a Bay Area based actor, playwright and teaching artist. He has devised two full length solo plays, PANSY for New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC) and Don’t Feel: The Death of Dahmer for Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory. His directorial debut, F*CK MY LIFE (written and performed by Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom) premiered locally at CounterPULSE and traveled to The Fresh Fruit Festival in NYC. A graduate of The Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre, Evan has collaborated with several Bay Area choreographers: Jesse Hewitt (FREEDOM for Z-SPACE), Hope Mohr Dance (ridetherhythm for ODC) and Liz Tenuto (The Two LegitsIn the Velvet for CounterPULSE). In 2011, Evan was nominated for a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award (Best Actor in a Drama) for his work in Henry Murray's Treefall (NCTC). PANSY is currently booking Spring/Summer touring dates. Don’t Feel: The Death of Dahmer was featured in the SF Bay Guardian’s year end review as, "one of the best small theatre productions of 2010," and included this quote: "(Don't Feel) is passionately committed, deft and fearless. It's a riveting communion with the dead, in several directions at once, and it will leave you troubled and moved." - Rob Avila, SFBG Theatre Critic

 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

BEN RANDLE has directed The Submission, Treefall, Don’t Ask, Doubt (BATCC Nomination, Best Director), Baptized to the Bone at NCTC; Sweeney Todd for Ray of Light Theatre; Into the Clear Blue Sky by JC Lee for Sleepwalkers Theatre (BATCC Nomination, Best Director, Scenic Design); Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dionysus at CounterPULSE; The Fisherman’s Wife, Chalk Boy for Impact Theatre. Ben has a BA from San Francisco State University and was a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab 2010. Next: a new collaboration with trixxie carr based on Strauss’ Salome.
 

NOTES ON WRITING PANSY:

"When I wrote PANSY, I was thinking a lot about lineage and my specific queer place in time. I was working in the Castro at Spike's Coffees and Teas, the same neighborhood coffee shop where Dustin Lance Black wrote his screenplay to Milk. The place oozes with nostalgia; it's essentially frozen in 1993, the year the shop's original owner, Rick Rodriguez, died of AIDS. Not much has changed at Spike's since then. PANSY begins in 1993 and ends in 2013 (the year PANSY first premiered) and I've realized how important this 20 year span is to the storytelling. 

We begin at the dawn of a new year, a new presidency (Clinton) and more than a decade into a world struggling with a catastrophic virus; the show ends right before PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) becomes "the San Francisco model" of strategically diminishing the risk of new infections. The struggle of a millennial twenty-something navigating sex and city living felt far too trivial to stand on its own, when New Conservatory Theatre Center first commissioned me to make an autobiographical work through their Emerging Artist Program. I wanted to connect with my city in a deeper way, to history, to what came before me. 

As a child, I latched onto Peter Pan, the myth, quite heavily. Perhaps it was how different Peter was from other boys, the way he dodged Wendy's kiss, his androgyny. Michael says in PANSY that he first came to San Francisco to see Cathy Rigby play Peter Pan at The Golden Gate Theatre; this is the only autobiographical fact in the whole piece. That really happened. The year was also 1993; I was just seven years old and l left mystified from seeing my first play. 

By fusing my personal relationship to Peter Pan with a larger story of San Francisco nightlife history, I hope to achieve a sense of queer communion. For me, this piece serves as a eulogy for those lost and as a reckoning for those of us here living. While writing PANSY, I often felt dwarfed by history, by time itself. I am in a great deal of debt to the 25 queer elders I interviewed about San Francisco nostalgia, maturation, escapism and the shadow/impact of AIDS. These fabulous souls gave me courage, insight and a profound sense of place. I dedicate this show to the late Diet Popstitute, whose party KLUBSTiTUTE (1990-1995) was a beacon for many."
 

-Evan Johnson, PANSY Program Notes (Oct. 2015)

Photo by Louis Tema

Photo by Louis Tema