Monday, May 16, 2011

"The Lily's Revenge"

Taylor Mac Turns Nostalgia on its Head

In the first of its five (!) acts, an actor—I can't remember if it was the lesbian academic hourglass, the feminist theorist bridesmaid, or the human theater curtain—says that nostalgia is dangerous, hinging as it does on a past that exists only in our minds. Or something like that. After four-and-a-half hours of creator and star Taylor Mac's brilliant, bawdy, psychedelic dialogue, I really can't remember.

Whether or not that was the point, it doesn't matter—"The Lily's Revenge" doesn't attempt to shove an arc or epiphany down your throat (unless you ask for it). Instead, it throws out thousands of bon mots, barbs, and zingers, and what sticks will depend entirely on your particular brand of static cling.

For me, that early comment about nostalgia was particularly salient, and ironic: The joy of the show for me is that it gives me a glimpse of the loopy energy and unselfconscious artistic freedom that I imagine was the backbone of the 70s art and music scene in San Francisco, embodied by everything from The Cockettes and Tales of the City to Harvey Milk's theatrical electoral campaigns.

"The Lily's Revenge" seems to me to be suffused with a kind of vicarious nostalgia—but at the same time shows that such energy and shimmering brilliance is still very much alive.

 Presented by Magic Theatre

Where: Building D, Fort Mason, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, San Francisco

When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays; closes May 22

Tickets: $30 to $75

Contact: (415) 441-8822,

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