Since the beginning of time, men have been accused of thinking with their dicks instead of their heads. Now, imagine what the infamous male member might have to say to his owner in response. That’s the hilarious gist of new plays being premiered this month in South Florida.
Presented by Anagram Entertainment and Empire Stage, Michael Matteo’s play, “An Evening with Mister Johnson – The Penis Diatribes” will be presented in two versions, “It’s Hard Being a Dick” and “It’s Harder Being a Gay Dick,” beginning Thursday, Sept. 8.
Compared to “The Vagina Monologues,” Matteo’s play explores the relationship between man and his “best friend,” explains co-producer Nate Sykes. But, unlike the “Monologues,” this show has a plot, a beginning, middle and climax—pardon the pun, “although the guys playing the penises might feel differently,” Sykes chuckles.
Originally written as a story about a straight relationship, a gay version was drafted soon after the premiere. Both will be presented in rotation in Fort Lauderdale, with the straight version on Thursdays and Saturdays and the gay version on Fridays and Sundays.
“There are not a lot of differences outside of the obvious. Straight relationships and gay relationships are similar. They have the same dynamics. The only difference is you have double the estrogen with women and double the testosterone with men,” Sykes says. “As a result, the plays end up being very different because of the emotional reactions.”
The story follows a man who is in an unsatisfying relationship. On Christmas Eve, he finds himself caught by Grandma in a compromising position with his boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s cousin. Fast forward a week to New Year’s Eve and he’s moping around when his penis walks in the door and proclaims, “Excuse me, I was just doing my job.”
Sykes is quick to point out there is no male nudity in either version and no penis costumes, either: “I hate to stoop to swinging dick around the stage to put butts in seats. This is an adult show, and to be Freudian about it, the penis is really an ‘id’….he refers to himself as the referee between the head and the heart.”
He adds, “It’s a cute piece of fluff. There’s not a lot of depth (to the plot). We’re in a time when people want comedy and they want to laugh. They are more apt to come to something that will make them laugh than something that would make them want to go home and slash their wrists.”
Over the past two years, Empire Stage has nurtured a strong following in the Fort Lauderdale gay community, but Sykes hopes straight audiences will also embrace “Mister Johnson” the way gay audiences have in other cities.
“It’s definitely a word of mouth kind of piece,” he says, “and we’re hoping to get the word out. A lot of people in South Florida wait until that night to decide if they want to go out, so it makes for some sleepless nights and compulsive Internet chatting.”
“Mister Johnson – The Penis Diatribes”
Sept. 8 – Oct. 2
“It’s Hard Being a Dick” (straight version) – Thursdays & Saturdays
“It’s Harder Being a Gay Dick” (gay version) – Fridays & Sundays
Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale
Tickets $25 in advance, $30 at the door, $40 for both shows at door