April 11, 2001 | Erling Wold's Fabrications
Queer
Composer:Erling Wold
Librettist:John Morace
Synopsis
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Because of its straightforward and honest portrayal of his homosexuality, the book was unpublished for thirty years after it was written, even though Burroughs' fame increased dramatically during that time.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.

Title Information

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Approximate Runtime (hh:mm)
01:40

Number of Acts
2

Musical Style
postminimalist, tonal, some mexican influence

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)


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