Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

’3 Guys’ provides color coordinated joy, sorrow

Citizen Staff Writer



If tragedy breeds comedy, a lot of tragedy should breed a lot of comedy. That is exactly what happens when three guys in drag set out to hold a yard sale to sell their stuff – a remarkable collection of bright-colored wigs and whimsical knickknacks. And, oh, yes, a sex toy or two.

Well, when a play is titled “3 Guys in Drag Selling Their Stuff,” you pretty much know that flamboyant costumery will be involved. This trio is wanting to sell stuff to raise money for an authentic FabergĂ© egg, which will become the final resting place for the cremated remains of Diva’s husband Horace. Up until now, he’s been kept in a pickle jar.

Diva, as played by Richard Chaney, is a balled-up bundle of nervous energy. Brittle humor is her weapon of choice to keep life’s cruel challenges at arm’s length. She has a handful of retorts for every situation, often with strings attached to her own ever-pulsing libido. Life can be so distracting for Diva, her cell phone is kept strapped to her thigh and set on vibrate. That way she won’t miss any calls.

She struts, she swaggers, she flounces, she tries to lure bored passers-by into becoming active participants in this al fresco enterprise, but to no avail.

“May I service you,” she asks an unseen shopper, then stops herself. “I mean, be of service to you?”

Effective business marketing was never one of her favorite subjects in school.

A cut glass bowl of bright red punch plays a prominent role, as well. Generously blended with alcoholic additives, the punch sinks lower in the bowl as the play goes on, and as the characters become increasingly disheveled.

The original idea was to attract attention by offering everyone free punch, encouraging them to browse among the items for sale. But by intermission, half the punch is gone and they still haven’t sold anything. So for Act Two, the sign says “Free Punch. With Purchase.”

As for those other two guys, Kenton Jones plays Lillian, a tall figure more fragile than Diva. Lillian is full of frets, happy to let Diva be the control freak. A life of the mind is more to Lillian’s liking, especially when that mind is tuned in to psychedelic phenomena and astral projections.

She is the one who spikes the punch bowl with absinthe during intermission, then gives the audience a description of absinthe’s effect and explains why it is illegal in the United States. As you might imagine, the bitter banter between Lillian and Diva is the sort we usually associate with old married couples – always complaining but never considering divorce.

Which is the point, really, of this surreal but touching comedy by Edward Crosby Wells. Whether you call them drag queens or cross-dressers, whether or not you admire their heightened appreciation for the extra dimensions of style in female clothing, these males have all the human emotions of everyone else. Just because their joys and sorrows are more color coordinated doesn’t mean they are different.

Diva and Lillian do have a third friend, Tink, who is confined to a wheelchair. Tink can’t talk much. She moves very little. Mike Sultzbach plays the role with remarkable concentration. Mostly he has to sit perfectly still. There are a few times when he gets to slip out of his body, so to speak, and talk to the audience about his problems.

Director Cynthia Jeffery has prepared a quickly moving production that puts the emphasis on heart. These three guys may be in drag but they aren’t flouncing around or calling up all the gay stereotypes. They know firsthand that going through life in a dress is tough enough when you’re a gal. Much more, when you’re not.

Jeffery also wants us to see the determination of Diva, Lillian and Tink to be true to themselves. So what if they feel more comfortable in heels. They are still willing to take out the garbage, to do their part. Ultimately, you have to admit that courage in any gender is a quality to be admired.

’3 Guys’ provides color coordinated joys and sorrows


What: Beowulf Alley Theatre Company presents “3 Guys in Drag Selling Their Stuff” by Edward Crosby Wells

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 1:30 p.m. Sundays through March 1

Where: Beowulf Alley Theatre, 11 S. Sixth Ave.

Price: $20, discounts online (Thursday’s performance is a benefit for Wingspan, tickets $30 each)

Info: 622-4460, beowulfalley.org

Grade: B

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service