Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy!, his latest all-new show, features an all-American selection of terrifying tales that run the gamut from gun violence to American sodomy.
Inspired by tragedy and true blue American horror, Darkly’s new yarns promise to tingle the spine while tickling funny bones. “I think a lot of comedy comes from tragedy,” says Darkly, “and, in particular, this show really focuses on American horror—like our fear and fascination of guns in the U.S.” With new deaths from gun violence being in the headlines on a seemingly daily basis, this show will certainly be timely.
Yet, the titular reference to triggers is not solely gun based. “I also looked at triggering,” explains Darkly. “There’s the threat of physical violence by a gun, and in the show it’s paired against the threat of emotional violence. Playing the two off one another was the primary bulk of inspiration for this particular show.” It is in that vein that Darkly can tackle themes of happiness, hypersensitivity, sodomy, and more with his beloved blend of satire and eroticism.
For the evening’s first lurid story, Darkly introduces audiences to traumatized Army veteran Otis Moonshine. “He suffers from PTSD, from a terrible event that happened during his service,” says Darkly. “There are hints that the incidents that occurred may have a supernatural element to it.” Haunted by the specters of war, Otis starts hunting the gays in his small, Southern town, convinced they are werewolves. “He sort of vacillates between longing and disgust for this life that he wants and also this certainty that he is gay, but he’s not part of their pack,” explains Darkly.
Nodding to the slasher genre, “Final Girl” reintroduces audiences to America’s Sweetheart from Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic!. Serving as her eulogy, this yarn tells audiences about her career from pudgy spokesgirl for Baby’s Breath cigarettes to becoming the preeminent scream queen of her age. “She got her big break playing Virginia Titsworth, the titular heroine of a low-budget slasher film that would go on to spawn nine sequels,” says Darkly. Yet, this series ultimately ruins her career. Inspired by the debacle over Lena Headey’s infamous walk of shame on HBO’s Game of Thrones, “Final Girl” is Darkly’s “poignant, satiric look at women in Hollywood.”
The battle to preserve gay spaces like London’s legendary Royal Vauxhall Tavern, which was recently granted listed status by Historic England and is currently campaigning for funds so it can be purchased from property developers, serves as the basis for “American Apparel.” In this “urban fairytale” a rat with dreams of being a drag queen rallies to save the Imperial Poppycock Saloon, a fictitious venue, from the ever encroaching threat of corporate cancer. “I think we sometimes take for granted that we are surrounded by so much history,” says Darkly. “But, at the same time, everything is getting swallowed up and homogenized.”
The final piece of the evening is Darkly’s “Ghosts of Stonewall,” a rallying cry to the next LGBTQ generation. “This was one of my first stories that I ever wrote,” says Darkly. Incorporating the rant into Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy! required Darkly to set the revisited piece to music, and he chose a fitting percussive, poetic beat. “It’s quite a ‘come on kids, let’s do this’ sort of rant,” says Darkly. “I love it, and I think people have found it very inspiring.”
As entertaining as Darkly’s macabre tales always are, they always pack a powerful punch. “If I can make a monster into a human, then I think I’ve succeeded as a storyteller,” says Darkly. So, sometimes that chill running up your spine isn’t just a fright, but also a thought.
Dandy Darkly’sTrigger Happy! is on October 29, 30, and 31 at UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, NYC. For tickets, visit HorseTRADE.info.