“For the characters in these plays, however, nothing ever gets out of their system. They are all stuck, bottled up, locked in constant struggles of domination — legally, politically and sexually. That said, Macdonald is such a good writer that he makes you care about these characters … The collection starts off strong with the title play, “Mutant Sex Party.” It’s a twisted tale of sex and politics with a surprising (and perfect) ending. “Gemini,” the second play in the book, is more experimental than “Mutant Sex Party” in its use of stage direction, lighting and sound. The subject matter is similar to “Mutant Sex Party”: politics, cults, money and dictators, but mixed with memories of going to bingo on acid and, as it says on the back cover, “packaged in a hysterical tirade delivered by a crazy person.” I would love to see these plays (especially “Gemini”) performed. A script is like a map but the performance is the place itself.”
A.G.Pasquella, BROKEN PENCIL
On Mutant Sex Party:
"The audience is constantly on the edge of their seats wondering, "What's real? What's a fantasy?" ... a complex and challenging play that is very political in nature. Don't let the title fool you; this is about mutant politics as much as sex. We are reminded that while lying and cheating are accepted in politics a blowjob can ruin a career ... a dynamic roller coaster of a theatrical experience."
Karl Wilder, ONOFFOFF
"... a crisp and clear loony toon takes over an asylum to carry out his dreams of becoming a 'moderate fascist dictator' ... an enjoyable and illuminating experience"
THE VILLAGE VOICE
"It's all a weighty, symbolic, lyrical tale of postmodern alienation, packed in a hysterical tirade delivered by a crazy person. Kindly pass the dopamine ... It's a hilarious trip to a brave new world."
Leonard Jacob, BACKSTAGE
In 2001, Ed Macdonald's play GEMINI opened at New York's 78th STREET THEATRE LAB and received great reviews, including a rave from The Village Voice. GEMINI was later remounted by NBC in their showcase space, PSNBC. Since then, several of his plays including MUTANT SEX PARTY, THE ESCAPE ARTIST, ERRATICA and TITUS LUCRETIUS CARUS have been produced by The Drilling Company.
TITUS LUCRETIUS CARUS (now entitled Smoke and Blood) was nominated for the New York Innovative Theatre Award.
Mutant Sex Party and other plays: ISBN 978-1-897535-93-6
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An interview with Ed Macdonald from the forward of Mutant Sex Party and other plays:
(Rarely Asked Questions)
Why Do You Have Two Names?
I have three, actually. I'm not entirely sure as to the why of it. Years ago, I decided to use my middle name as a surname when I was writing plays. I suppose that I thought it sounded like a serious playwright's name. Also, I felt that the name Macdonald had a negative connotation due to the existence of an insanely successful fast food franchise. I don't want to say which one. Anyway, Manning is my middle name and that's why I used it. I don't anymore. My third name is a whole other story. I'm not even sure how to spell it.
When Did This Get So Out Of Hand?
When I was sixteen years old, I sat in the James McConnell Memorial Library in Sydney, Nova Scotia and read Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot. When I finished it I knew, with reassuring certainty, that everything had changed. The only other time I had experienced the same sensation was four years earlier when I heard Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.
Hilarious, inexplicable and purgatorial, Godot is rife with horrifying truths. I used Beckett's masterpiece as a licence to dismiss convention and to ignore all expectations. A play, he demonstrated, did not have to be sensible or formal or logical.
I started doing one-act plays at The Boardmore Playhouse at UCB. It was a great time and place for young upstarts and sulking hipsters. Elizabeth and Harry Boardmore had created a festival that enthusiastically encouraged new writers. We had the opportunity to learn by doing and we were given a lot of leeway. The only thing they would not let me have on the stage was fire. I was delighted to within an inch of my life.
What's The Deal With These Plays?
Well, let's see. Mutant Sex Party. The first version was a short written for a Drilling Company show in New York. Erik Van Wyck and Tom Demenkoff were spectacular in it and that first production inspired the longer version herein. Erik and Tom returned for the second, full length production in June of 2005 and they were pitch perfect in it. It was written during the reign of beloved simpleton, George W Bush, and is, ultimately, an homage to the mating ball of vampires that would come to be known as the "one percent".
Then there's Gemini. Victor Syperek owns a bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia, called The Economy Shoe Shop. One summer he had a reading series and asked me to swing by and harass his patrons with my subtle, almost imperceptible charm. I read a strange, fragmented, untitled monologue that appealed to an actor friend named Kenneth-Wilson Harrington, or as I call him, Kenny. He thought that there was a play in it, I agreed and what I read that day became the core of Gemini. The first production was directed by Christian Murray and ran in the Neptune theater second space in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The second production, also starring Kenny, was directed by David Kennedy and happened off-Broadway in 2001. It was later remounted for a run at PSNBC, a showcase space run by NBC.
Dead Meat is a love story, obviously. It's a short written for another Drilling Company show. It's about impatience, ambivalence, boredom, love, hate, fear, trees, meat theft and running.
Smoke and Blood grew out of a play called Titus Lucretius Carus. This version takes place during two distinctly different parties: one in 55 B.C. and one that happened last night.
The Escape Artist is another love story. I've lost count of how many versions there are of this one. It's about the need to connect and the fear of what that connection might imply. Also, it has a whale.
The Returns was originally called Erratica when it premiered at the West 78th Street Theater Lab in Manhattan. It is a one man show will never end; a sliver of an eternity "on tour".