7 Stages wants to share dirty gay secret with you

7 Stages wants to get intimate with you this weekend, so the theater opens its new season with Curious Encounters 2, a mix of original performances that includes one sharing a dirty little gay secret.

The Atlanta theater closed last season with the successful Curious Encounters, a collection of performances stationed throughout the theater’s property that explored different uses of space. Fast-forward to this weekend and the theater is at it again.

Among the six different original performances that make up Curious Encounters 2 is one with a serious theme. “I Said I Was Sorry,” a collaborative effort from new group Project TBD, offers a look into domestic violence in queer relationships through the experiences of two couples. Ahead of the show’s debut Thursday, we spoke with gay co-creator Charles Swint, who is also marketing director for 7 Stages, about the piece’s origins, the creation of Project TBD, and more.

How did “I Said I Was Sorry” come about?

It was born out of all of the discussion about marriage equality. There is so much focus on being treated equally and the institution of marriage. Rarely do we look at what it means to be a couple and how we get to the marriage. Not all romances end happily ever after. We wanted to explore the other side – the darker side of that conversation.

The project focuses on domestic violence in queer relationships. Why explore this?

Domestic violence is usually associated with women in heterosexual relationships. The fact is, it happens to everyone, and there are very little safeguards to protect gay men who are in a domestic violence situation. In same-sex couples, the face of violence is more difficult to identify, and therefore either ignored or both parties are punished. With same-sex couples, there are other levels of abuse that occur. Someone may threaten to tell your friends, family, colleagues, or community members of your sexual orientation or gender identity; they may tell you that authorities won’t help a gay, bisexual, or transgender person. They may even tell you that leaving the relationship means you’re admitting that gay, bisexual, or transgender relationships are deviant. This is a real thing that is happening.

During the creation process of “I Said I Was Sorry,” we talked to a number of people in the LGBT community who are dealing with this very issue. It’s time we start talking about it and not hiding it away like a dirty little secret. There is no shame in survival.

What can the audience expect in this segment?

The audience will have an opportunity to peer into the lives of two couples as they live a cycle of abuse. It’s dark, funny, sexy, and violent, just like real life. The piece is viewed through keyholes, is very stylized and goes from pedestrian moments to dream-like dance to full on fights.

“I Said I Was Sorry” comes from Project TBD. How did you and other members of Project TBD come together?

This is our first project together. I wanted to bring some amazing creative minds from the LGBT community and put them in a room to see what would happen. I was familiar with the work of Johnny Drago, Jed Drummond, and Christen Orr, and I just knew that this would be a dynamite team that would bring something different to the table.

How does “I Said I Was Sorry” fit into the larger program, Curious Encounters 2?

We are just one of six amazing performances that will be taking place during Curious Encounters 2. Audiences will be able to explore 7 Stages like never before and interact with some of Atlanta’s most cutting edge artists.

What else can audience members expect from Curious Encounters 2?

Be prepared for anything, and expect the unexpected. I will say that most of the pieces are really sexy, so bring your dance shoes and an open mind.

Curious Encounters 2 runs Sept. 4–7 at 7 Stages Theatre. Performances run from 7–10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from 6–9 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door.

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Originally published on Project Q Atlanta.

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