In 2008, Pygmalion Theatre Company put on Sordid Lives, Del Shores’ 1996 play that spawned both a 2000 independent film and a 2008 television series on the Logo cable network.
The tagline to the play was “A dark comedy about white trash,” and it didn’t disappoint. Set in a small Texas town and full of drinkin’, gunplay and ambivalent attitudes toward homosexuality, the production consistently hit the sweet spot between camp and a sweet, sincere sentimentality. It’s no wonder that the show is back by popular demand for PYG’s 2010 season.
Helmed once again by director Fran Pyrun, Sordid Lives tells the story of the family of recently deceased matriarch Peggy and their preparations for her funeral in spite of their own secrets and prejudices, and the, well, sordid circumstances of Peggy’s demise. Her death involved a seedy motel room and a pair of mislaid artificial legs not her own, facts that her family would prefer not become public. Just as they would prefer that their long-institutionalized flamboyant Brother Boy (Michael Canham, pictured) remain hidden away. And there’s the closeted gay son in Hollywood.
Throw in some broad lower-class rural Southern stereotypes and some Thelma & Louise references, and you get a hilarious, pitch-perfect show that never forgets to humanize the caricatured characters it’s exploiting. There are also some good songs. There will be laughing and crying—perhaps both by you.