Company camps out on farcical Island

Boston Herald – Terry Byrne

When drag queens meet a 300-year-old play, will worlds collide?

The American Repertory Theatre?s new production of ??Island of Slaves? is attempting that experiment, moving the setting of Pierre Marivaux?s classic farce from a remote island to a slightly seedy drag bar.

??The key thing about ?Island of Slaves? is that it?s so self-consciously about performance,? says translator and ART associate artistic director Gideon Lester.

To explore that sense of performance, director Robert Woodruff took his company to see Freddie Franklin, who played a minor role in the ART?s production of ??Three Sisters,? perform in his other life as a drag queen at Jacques and Axis.

??These drag performers are complete entities,? says Lester, ??creatures of pure performance with great personalities and names like Fena Barbitall, Juju Bee and Mahogoney Brown. They?re also about freedom, the freedom to create an entirely new identity for yourself.?