Pansy #4: Production Meetings and 90’s Porn – Further Preparations for “PANSY”

Evan Johnson continues to chronicle the premiere production of his new show.

Pansy Program Print Ad

Friday May 3, 2013. 1:35pm.

Sunny days in San Francisco, everyone digging into rarely opened Summer clothing drawers. Walking back home along Valencia St. I try to dodge oncoming strollers and an entire Elementary class. I feel like a pasty white mess, all red splotches, nearing sun-stroke. Finally, arriving home, I plop down to write this PANSY blog post for ya’ll.

Where are we at with our show? How’s the PANSY? Well…we are shooting some video segments in less than two weeks, yippee! We’ve got Zack Kasten’s terrific eye to guide the video shoot and run camera. His editing skills are also going to help the video sections feel dated and low-fi. Which is perfect for the “nostalgic-analog-VHS-aesthetic” we’re shooting for.


One of the scenes we are capturing on digital video takes place at a mythical benefit show for Peter Pansy. It will appear in the piece on an onstage VCR, as Michael (the character from the modern day) presses “PLAY.” I’m glad we got the go-ahead from NCTC to roll on a TV/VCR cart.

I tell ya, this show is a fucking beast. The amount of text is fairly sizable and I still have to find the physicalities and characteristics of my two characters…they have to be specific and distinct. I need to get on the memorization thing pronto, so I can really play when we start rehearsals officially on May 18th.

Let’s see..what else..

Looking at visuals from early 90’s gay nightlife in San Francisco has been a ton of fun. Now it’s time to take the inspirations and run with whatever choices we make as a team. It’s been a treat meeting the designers and discussing possibilities, from scenic choices to the video sections as well as the soundscape Teddy Hulsker is creating. Check out this awesome video of LeMay performing at Klubstitute in San Francisco circa 1994ish:

All of the elements need to of course work in tandem and my role as playwright and actor are fused, so there’s an interesting duality to my input. I feel like sometimes my opinions are more from a place of “what the audience will experience” and other suggestions are more geared towards what I as a performer will need, to get from point A to point B. It’s a lot to juggle sometimes, which is why I’m always so glad Ben Randle (Director of PANSY) is there, he’s super on point with the practicalities and the more brainstormy-just-throwing-out-ideas stuff.

In other news…I’ve been doing some research on early 90’s porn and that’s been….well, fun! I think Vivid Man’s VHS classic “Mindscape 2” (1992) is the one I’d like to include, in the scene where Peter Pansy brings his trick home. I really wanted a clip that was cheesy for it’s special effects and/or dialogue and this one definitely delivers. Here’s hoping we can steal the cip without any legal repercussions. Though, I wouldn’t mind a little controversy, they say any press is good press, right? So, maybe I should say: Bring it on Vivid Man!

mindscape2 copy

Well, we will keep on keepin’ on..and by the time I write my next blog post we’ll have shot that benefit video and another scene we’re shooting in front of The Stud Bar. And…in the next blog, I’ll be just about to start rehearsals. My aim is to be 100% off book by then. I better get to memorizing! I’ll let you know how I do!

Enjoy this weather ya’ll. I live for days like this.

Writer/Performer for PANSY

Pansy Blog #2: Time. Space. Shadows.

Evan Johnson chronicles the journey of his new play, Pansy, from concept to production.


A google search for “how to freeze time” led me to where a spell simply referred to as “Freeze Time Spell” instructed me further. The site states that with “strong focus” one can actually stop time by saying the following words, with eyes closed and a strong visualization of a clock ticking:

“Time stand still I order you,

no minutes pass until I’m through,

doing what I have to do,

Time stand still I order you”

When would you use this spell? As a parlor trick? To plan your escape?

In PANSY there is a conscious play of time, namely a 20 year span between the two lives I’m exploring; Peter Pansy in 1993 and Michael Darling in 2013. With the theatrical device of Peter Pansy’s VHS video footage, Michael rewinds and plays and fast forwards until he reaches (in the climax of the piece) a personal moment of pause.


A couple days ago I was sitting at Cafe Flore with Ben Randle, my director and Zack Kasten our Videographer/Video Artist extraordinaire. Zack was talking about ways we could get the effect of a giant hook dragging Peter Pansy offstage, which was something I had written into the script without a real clear plan of execution. He suggested stop motion animation. Immediately Ben and I said “Yes!” because we knew how right on the idea was. Our plan now is to shoot all the video elements mid April so we have them to rehearse with in May. Shadow hook stop motion animation sequence included.

Zack’s help with video is going to be a tremendous asset to us, since the video elements are so crucial in telling this story. We aren’t making a show with cool multimedia effects just for the sake of mixing mediums; rather, the video and technology in PANSY are truly plot driven and integral to the action.

For more about Zack, check out the trailer for his film “The Perfect Hello” here:

In addition to a new Video Artist collaborator in place, I also want to take time to announce we’ve been super fortunate to score an amazing Sound Designer, Teddy Hulsker! Teddy’s work has been heard around the Bay Area at Box Car Theatre’s  “Buried Child” and “A Lie of the Mind” as well as Mark Jackson’s “Woyzeck” for Shotgun Players and currently at Z Space in Mugwumpin’s “The Great Big Also.” Here’s some of Teddy’s (bad ass) sound work on soundcloud:

And lastly, before I bow out on this blog-

Ben and I also met with our friend Cabure (Shot In The City) to discuss promotional images for PANSY and we are taking photos next week so stay tuned! Hopefully we’ll have some fun images to share next time I write. Cabure was our first choice to photograph Peter Pansy for the promo shoot because of his fabulous eye and nightlife/party flier sensibilities. Here’s Shot In The City on Facebook:


Cheers everyone! Happy Spring!

– Evan, the Pansy