'Woof' puts playwright's skills to the audience test
By KAREN SHADE, 3/2/2007
Some people might call Jerry Rabushka's plays weird. He prefers "original."
"I think of it as 'not mainstream,' " said the St. Louis-based playwright who will be coming to Tulsa's Nightingale Theater with "Woof, the Road Show" this weekend.
"I know that some of the stuff I write is for a limited audience, or it will appeal to a limited audience, although if more people would come and see it, they would see that it's not that strange," he said.
The same goes for "Woof," a two-man, mini-musical romance featuring Rabushka and Zach Jett as actors on tour. Jon (Rabushka) likes Adam (Jett). Adam likes Jon, but is reluctant to get involved with his co-star since they must work together, especially since the show's writers are constantly reworking their script.
"Woof" doesn't have much of a plot, he said, being more of a series of vaudeville-like vignettes in which the audience watches their evolving relationship through their on-stage antics.
Rabushka has an ongoing relationship with the Nightingale. Last year, the theater staged his "Love of Last Resort." Other works also have made it there in recent years, including "Somebody Else's Life" (set in Tulsa) and a vehicle for actor Jade Esteban Estrada called "Icons."
"When you do shows at home, and I'm sure everybody has this problem, you're the guy down the street putting on the plays. When you take them on the road, you're making the effort, coming (from) out of town. There's just a little more respect or interest that makes it a little more special for everybody," he said.
Home for Rabushka and his Ragged Blade Productions is the Theatre at St. Johns, a space in a 100-year-old church in one of St. Louis' older neighborhoods on the verge of becoming trendy.
But taking his productions on the road encourages his habit for writing prolifically. Counting all the 10-minute skits, one-acts and full-length plays, Rabushka has written at least 120 pieces, he said.
While much of his work tends to be gay-oriented, Rabushka said his work is just enough "on the edge" either topically or technically to keep people squirming in their seats.
"I like to think that I don't write the same play every time," he said.
WOOF, THE ROAD SHOW
When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Where: Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St.
Ticket: $8 general, $5 college students and seniors. Information and reservations are available at 633-8666
Note: Play is for a mature audience.