Queer
Composer: Erling Wold
Librettist: John Morace
Other Artistic Personnel: Jim Cave (director)
Deirdre McClure (conductor)
Clyde Sheets (lighting designer)
Cid Pearlman (choreographer)
Hank Ford (costume designer)
Orchestra: Erling Wold, Marja Mutru, Tom Swafford, Jab, Ashley Adam
Original Cast: Joe Wicht (Trauma Flintstone) (William Lee)
Ken Berry (variety of male characters)
Shane Kramer (Allerton)
Stacey Em Jackson (Mary)
Zenon Barron and Norberto Martinez (the two dancers)
Work Web Site: http://www.erlingwold.com/works.html#queer
Premiere Date: April 11, 2001
Producing Company: ODC Theater / Erling Wold’s Fabrications
Description: In the late forties, William Burroughs moved to Mexico City to avoid an "unpromising" court date for heroin and marijuana possession. The city was tremendously corrupt, cheap to live in and tolerant, although not necessarily accepting, of Burroughs' indiscretions: his heroin addiction and his homosexual desire. His autobiographical novel Queer, set against this backdrop, tells the story of William Lee's desperate romantic and sexual yearnings for an indifferent young man named Eugene Allerton, another expatriate American. Although their relationship is consummated, Allerton is never possessed, and Lee's attentions are increasingly sad, embarrassing and pathetic. Burroughs' writing is revealing: he succeeds in uncovering his soul, in expressing his longings in a way that immediately resonates with his audience. In the end, after convincing Allerton to come away with him on a search for the magical drug Yage, the story trails off. As Burroughs puts it:

"…Lee has reached the end of his line, an end implicit in the beginning. He is left with the impact of unbridgeable distances, the defeat and weariness of a long, painful journey made for nothing, wrong turnings, the track lost, a bus waiting in the rain…"

Because of its straightforward and honest portrayal of his homosexuality, the book was unpublished for thirty years after it was written, even though Burroughs' fame increased dramatically during that time. The comical fantasy routines in the book, told as stories by Lee in his attempts to entertain and engage Allerton, foreshadow those which eventually come to dominate Burroughs' later works such as Naked Lunch, in which the audience for the routines is no longer real, but one which has become internalized.
Character List (Major): William Lee, main character (tenor)
Moor, Tom Williams, Joe Guidry, Sawyer, the Major, Gale, Burns, Doctor, Cotter (tenor)
Eugene Allerton (speaking part)
Mary (actor)
Reviews: Burroughs for music lovers - Bay Area Reporter 4/2001
Review Title - San Francisco Chronicle 4/14/2001
Video Clip:
Length: 01:40
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: None
Orchestration: Trumpet - Classical Guitar doubling synthesizer - Piano doubling synthesizer - Violin, Contrabass
Ballet/Dance: 2 young boys dancers
Musical Style: postminimalist, tonal, some mexican influence
Contact: Erling Wold
Address: 629 Wisconsin St
San Francisco, CA 94107
E-mail Address: erling@erlingwold.com
Phone: + 1 415-902-9653
Publisher Web Site: http://www.erlingwold.com
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