A true San Francisco entertainment staple is “Sex and the City Live,” a drag re-telling of episodes of the popular television show. Entering its 8th “season” at SF Oasis, the Bay Area show has been running longer than the TV series itself.
I managed to catch up with one of its co-creators D’Arcy Drollinger, who brought “Sex” to San Francisco with her SF Oasis business partner Heklina.
Drollinger amazingly found time to chat as she’s not only on tour (with a break for “Sex”) with the “Golden Girls Live,” but she’s in post-production of her first movie “Shit & Champagne” which also started as an original live production at SF Oasis.
That’s some schedule! “That’s not it,” laughs Drollinger, “we are doing ‘Sex’ into July then I have one day off and then hit the road for a two ‘Golden Girls Live’.” After a deep breath, Drollinger continues, “Then in August I start rehearsal for ‘Star Trek Live!’ and, she continues, “Once that opens I begin rehearsals for ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’.”
She adds that after that she begins rehearsal for “The Rocky Horror Show” with the Ray of Light Theatre group. She returns to the lead role for the fifth year in a row. Before she can catch her breathe again, she will start working on San Francisco’s production of “Golden Girls Christmas,” which has played at various theatres for many years until it found a home at the Victoria Theatre. She forgot to mention she is also doing her Sexitude dance class on any Sunday she’s around.
Drollinger obviously is highly organized to keep this schedule. Her business partner Heklina used to be right by her side in all productions but Drollinger says that Heklina one day just realized there are only so many hours in the day so she now focuses more on the business to run SF Oasis and Mother, the drag club night at SF Oasis.
“Heklina does have fun with the shows and is also always a part of ‘Golden Girls’ in San Francisco and on tour as well as when we do ‘Three’s Company’,” Drollinger says.
“I’m not sure how it happened, but Drag TV adaptations seems to have become something I’m famous for. I wasn’t the first person to ever do a live parody (‘The Brady Bunch’ was turned into a stage parody back in the 90’s – with no drag queens), but I feel like I am the one to take the concept and create a bit of a genre around it. Now I see drag TV parodies being done all around the country.”
For “Sex” this year, Drollinger has opted to do two episodes from Season Two – “The Freak Show” and “The Cheating Curve.” She says that they’re both really fun episodes but they always bring in funny moments from other episodes when they do these live. “We keep enough of the original episode so people have the recognition, but then we take it into left field,” she laughs.
“It’s always a challenge to chose the episodes, to determine which will adapt for stage and which will play well with a live audience,” she says. “There are plenty of episodes that I would never do because of the subject matter.”
While the troupe from SF Oasis have dragged up many a show there are some that haven’t worked. “We had a surprisingly hard time pulling in an audience for ‘Designing Women.’ It was early on for me. I’d like to try it again some time. I think part of the reason is that the show is no longer in syndication,” says Drollinger.
Other production companies have also done drag shows to great success as well including “Absolutely Fabulous” and “Murder She Wrote in Drag.” One might think it’s competition for SF Oasis but Drollinger feels there’s enough to go around. “I’m good friends with those folks,” says Drollinger and now many of those great shows are using the SF Oasis venue.”I love what they do and we have much more infrastructure at Oasis to support their concepts. And now they will have a built-in audience for their shows. It’s a win win for everyone.”
SF Oasis and Drollinger have also spread the love among their core theatre troupe. Since she can’t be everywhere she has entrusted her fellow artists to bring shows to SF Oasis. “I’ve created a style for these shows,” she says, “so having Nancy French direct our recent production of ‘Friends’ worked great. She totally gets my style and we had done these episodes before, so she was well versed.”
Drollinger will likely be even more in demand as a popular San Francisco publication’s readers’ poll has voted her Best Drag Queen. Before she can rest on her laurels, she can be seen in “Sex and the City Live” at SF Oasis, May 30-July 7. Get tickets and information at www.sfoasis.com. Or to see what’s up with Drollinger, go to www.darcydrollinger.com.