The Playwrights Database
QUENTIN CRISP (1908 - 1999)
Quentin Crisp's plays including biography, theatres, agent, synopses, cast sizes, production and published dates
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Evening With Quentin Crisp, An
the format of this evening is simple enough. Mr. Crisp enters, attired dandily in black suit, overcoat, and gloves, with a chic black and gold scarf wrapped loosely about his neck and a handsome black fedora worn rakishly over two unruly tufts of curly white hair. He seats himself on a fine velvet chair and begins to talk to us. after about an hour he looks at his watch and announces that it's time for a pause "and a good cry"; after intermission he takes questions from the audience for about 30 minutes more, and then he calls it a night. Mr. Crisp does this to earn his keep, to be sure--he is quite forthright about that--but also because he clearly lives for an audience. When faced with one, he can hold forth with immense vigor and fortitude, on just about any topic; the pleasure he has in doing so is palpable; and the pleasure he has in sensing our pleasure even more so. Mr. Crisp pontificates here about how each of us needs to develop his or her own personal style; as he demonstrates over and over again throughout his show, few other living humans are better versed in this subject. Many of his familiar bon mots are here: the one about why you should not clean your house, the one about never keeping up with the Joneses, the one about how actresses age. But underneath the epigrammatic wit, Mr. Crisp has a serious, even profound, point to make, and he makes it emphatically both in word and deed. Mr. Crisp means for us above all to be true to ourselves: to plumb deep inside ourselves and figure out who we are and then invent, unafraid and unembarrassed, a fully-formed self around whoever that turns out to be. This of course is precisely what Mr. Crisp himself did, decades ago, when being a flamboyantly open homosexual was not only shocking but downright dangerous. Mr. Crisp advises us to have lots of money but few possessions, to view our home as our dressing room and the rest of the world as our stage, and to make sure that everything in our home accurately reflects the character we want the world to see. He also tells us to live by the words of Saint Teresa, who said that we should always treat others as our betters. (He also tells us the secret of the universe, but I won't give that away here.) I, for one, plan to take Mr. Crisp's encomiums to heart.
Devised By Richard Gollner
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