Playwright Doric Wilson, one of the pioneers of off-off-Broadway and gay theater, is coming to Chicago this week for the midwest premiere of his 1978 comedy A Perfect Relationship. Wilson will attend performances on Thursday and Friday, June 24 and 25, 8 PM at the Chicago Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview. He’ll participate in Q&A sessions with the audience after both shows.
Wilson, 70, was a resident playwright at Caffe Cino, the legendary Greenwich Village coffeehouse and theater that helped launch the off-off-Broadway theater movement in the early 1960s, introducing new work by Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson, John Guare, Robert Patrick, William Hoffman, Tom Eyen, and Jean-Claude van Itallie. In 1969, Wilson participated in all three nights of the Stonewall riot, the event that launched the gay liberation movement. That same year, Wilson was a founding member of the Circle Repertory Company, one of New York’s most esteemed off-Broadway theaters. In 1974, Wilson co-founded TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), the first professional gay-centered theater company in New York. TOSOS gained attention with its productions of new and revived plays by the likes of Terrence McNally, Lanford Wilson, Martin Sherman, and Joe Orton, as well as Wilson. This year, Wilson received the Career Achievement in Professional Theatre Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, sharing the honor with avant-garde icon Judith Malina, co-founder of the Living Theatre.
“The only relationship I ever had,” Wilson has written, “left me stumbling through the slush of 42nd Street on Christmas Eve of 1961, clutching Macy shopping bags crammed with his and my presents. Seems his lover (an entity previously unknown to me) had flown in from London as a holiday surprise. Never tried relationships again as I am susceptible to colds which makes stumbling through slush a bad idea. For me a one night stand is a long time commitment. Which in no way deterred me from writing about A Perfect Relationship.” A Perfect Relationship is a coproduction of the People’s Theater of Chicago and MidTangent Productions. Tickets for this Thursday and Friday’s shows are $10.