Friday, February 6, 2009

Down Front again with the Lady in Question

Posted by John Catania and Charles Ignacio, Filmmakers

Actors and directors who have been fortunate enough to be part of Charles Busch’s long career came to know us lovingly as “the documentarians” (first coined by actor Julie Halston), for our work producing and directing the feature length documentary, The Lady in Question is Charles BuschFrom 2000 to 2005 we dogged Charles and the people in his life to find out the real story behind the talented writer/actor/director/leading lady who we felt was one of the greatest and most enduring theater artists of our time.

We first came to know Charles Busch through the TV lens when as producers we turned to him often throughout the 1990’s to contribute his talent to the long-running PBS series "In the Life." So when Charles was set to open his first Broadway venture as a playwright in November of 2000, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, we came to him with our documentary idea and started our cameras rolling. We hardly knew what we were in for that mild autumn night as we discovered over the next several years that the man beneath the wigs was far more complex, charming, driven, and devoted than any of his celebrated heroines.

Photo: L-R, Charles Igancio, John Catania and Charles Busch.

Now that he brings a new work to the stage with The Third Story, we welcome the event as another highlight in our theater-going lives, and we only regret that, having completed our film about his life and work, we were not there behind-the-scenes to document the process of another Charles Busch production. We always knew during our five years on his story that we were witness to the workings of a national treasure, and whether we were hearing his side-splitting and sometimes wrenching life-stories unfold in his Village apartment or backstage at some dusty New York theater, we had the time of our lives. We think that fun spirit of discovery is captured in our film.

After finishing The Lady Question is Charles Busch we traveled the film festival circuit with Charles to take questions from audiences eager to learn more, many of them wondering how he was able to break out in NY Theater in the 1980’s against impossible odds. We conducted our last post-screening discussion some two years ago, and so we are thrilled to once again be down front with the inimitable Charles Busch on February 10th in a post-performance discussion after The Third Story with MCC Theater. As Charles' story continues we can't wait to take our place in the darkened theater among his eager audience.

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