When director and playwright Alistair Newton discovered an essay Lady Gaga had written about a provocative New York photographer, he was inspired. “I'd always been a supporter of Gaga's queer liberation politics, but I hadn't realized there was a fascinating mind behind her persona as well.” Out of this melding of two academics with strong aesthetics grew Of a Monstrous Child: A Gaga Musical
. What first appeared as a successful 45-minute piece in the 2011 Rhubarb Festival is now part of Buddies' main-stage season. “Our production designer, Matt Jackson, has some incredible visuals in store, and this version of Monstrous Child
will be a spectacle on a scale our audience has never experienced from an Ecce Homo production,” Newton says.
Unfortunately, not even Gaga can run on fame and fame alone. Newton explains that they have already raised the bulk of money needed for the production but that the further $6,000 will be crucial to completing the project. “The money raised from the online campaign will fund performers' salaries, allow us to hire an associate set-and-costume designer, and audio/visual equipment, which is key to achieving the multimedia elements of the piece,” he says. “We are offering some great perks for our donors, including a photo of Kimberly Persona as Lady Gaga by Tanja Tiziana — for the last three years, Tanja has taken the gorgeous photos for the Buddies' season brochure — and tickets to the opening-night performance on May 16 that includes a VIP pre-show reception catered by Sassafraz.”
Beyond exploring authenticity, liberation and artifice through pop stardom, Of a Monstrous Child
will span the globe and time for other queer icons. “The piece also functions as a kind of history of queer performance in the 20th century by exploring the artists who Gaga has appropriated,” Newton says. “I'm confident in saying that you won’t find Leigh Bowery, Grace Jones, Yoko Ono, Marina Abramović, Camille Paglia, Quentin Crisp, Andy Warhol, Michael Alig and Madonna in the same production anywhere else.” — Michael Lyons
Donate to Ecce Homo’s
Of a Monstrous Child: A Gaga Musical at indiegogo.com/monstrous-child.