This week we catch up with Victor Carrion and find out more about his return to Theater Pub after a year-long hiatus, plus all the details on HIT TRIP FALL RUN DREAM STICK SLEEP, a new performance piece about the early days of AIDS research that Victor will be premiering at Theater Pub on Tuesday, June 12.
What was your past involvement with Theater Pub?
As a co-founder and producer, I helped get the Pub project started. I wrote for Pint Sized Plays, I contributed some writing to The Odes of March, and directed Short Attention Span Shorts: Theater for the Inattentive.
You’ve been gone for more than a year. What were you up to during your hiatus?
I got appointed to the Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Commission for the State of California by the State Attorney General. This Commission oversees the monies derived from Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act. This Act stipulates that those individuals that have an income greater than $1 million pay 1% taxes towards this fund. This legislation has helped the development of many programs geared towards improving health access, providing housing for homeless individuals and reducing mental health stigma.
Well… that sounds… amazingly impressive. So how does it feel to be back at the Cafe Royale with a bunch of theater kids?
Great! I have always felt that theater makes my life and work better. Theater helps me explore human behavior using a different lens.
Tell us more about this coming project- what’s it like?
Different. For one, the subject, AIDS in the 80s, is very somber for a pub, but therein lies the beauty of Theater Pub. It’s a place to experiment. During this evening we will be examining how messages are conveyed to the audience during a typical play in comparison to, say, the reading of a story. Both story and play tell the same narrative in different style, and from the perspectives of different characters.
What personally drew you to this subject material?
I trained as a doctor during this time. I was also coming out during this time. The experience of learning to express your sexuality in an environment charged with fear of death and fear of self-expression linked specifically to sexuality, along with the pressure of needing to perform professionally, is something I’m still processing today. The writer of the story and the play, James D. Lock, trained during the same time and faced the same issues. He does a wonderful job in describing the conflicts of being a young gay doctor in the 80s. In addition, we see how AIDS had an impact on all trainees regardless of sexual orientation. Themes of homophobia, both internalized and externalized, are present throughout. The audience is invited to assess how far have we come.
What do you hope the audience will get out of it?
The desire to learn more. For example, to learn how societal pressures can have an impact on sexual expression, or how a particular time in history can influence a whole generation.
What are you up to next?
I am enjoying directing, but I also like writing and acting. I want to explore all of these with the time they deserve. I want to continue working with Theater Pub, helping to produce the upcoming shows and perhaps performing and writing for some of them. Soon, I will also be helping to plan for the 2013 season of Theatre in the Woods.
What are you looking forward to in the SF theater scene?
More venues, more pushing of the imaginary limits of theater and more audience!!
Don’t miss HIT TRIP FALL RUN DREAM STICK SLEEP, this Tuesday, June 12th, starting at 8 PM, for one night only. Admission is FREE, with a suggested $5.00 donation at the door!