By Rick Sutton
In a season of odd political events, a local playwright is staging a play that gives an adventurous twist to a political campaign.
Andy Black is no stranger to the stage. He’s written pays before, but this one – set in Orange County, Calif. – involves a gay candidate for district attorney. And a gay campaign manager.
“It’s so relevant to today,” Black said in a recent interview. “Two leading characters are gay. It’s really about our public image – how out can we be?”
The Indiana native’s play, “Strange Bedfellows,” will be presented in November at a local theatre. “To get elected, do we have to be transparent, or is that impossible?”
The play follows the candidate and campaign manager through complicated plot twists. It’s a breakneck screwball comedy set in the midst of a campaign in trouble. It leverages current events and themes and avoids common political posturing. It also has a romantic twist.
The play premiered in Santa Ana, Calif. In 2012. The Orange County Register review said: “Bedfellows does poke fun at every political persuasion and sexual orientation around, both real and stereotypical. The results is a wacky comedy…the jokes serve the story and characters.”
Black brings the play to Indianapolis after his own “throwback.” A Lawrence native, he graduated from Indiana University and Ohio University. He went west after college, “because I didn’t see a future for myself as a gay man. So I left. I don’t think it was that unique.”
He spent 30 years in California arts circles and moved back to Indiana about four years ago. His husband, hair stylist Dos Aria, accompanied him.
“Yes, it was culture shock,” Black said. “Our community…needs strong arts support. I see lots of progress, but we need more.”
Black collaborated with Patricia Milton on Bedfellows. They’ve worked together before. His first play, “Porn Yesterday,” was another collaboration with Milton. He soloed on “Another Dude’s Slingbacks,” which won a New Works or Merit award. “The Second Weekend in September” followed in 2010 in San Jose. He has had numerous other short-form plays and productions.
“Strange Bedfellows” will be presented at Khaos Company Theatre Nov. 4-5-11-12. Khaos is an “urban theatre for professional emerging artists providing paid opportunities and filling the void between community and unionized experience, in a unique simplistic environment.”
“I’m hoping Indianapolis likes this play,” Black said. “It’s got some great plot twists and I think it’s going to be fun.” He casting is nearly complete for the November short run.