Out comic Drew Droege is returning to the stage with one-man play, Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, directed by his Cocktails and Classics co-star Michael Urie.
He plays a bitter guest who’s come to Palm Springs for his gay friends’ wedding and is none-too-pleased about it. We chatted with Drew about the show, its inspiration, and his desire to play “a big, loud, gay drunk mess.”
What’s Bright Colors about?
It takes place the day before a gay wedding, and it’s spent around a pool in Palm Springs. I play a character named Gerry who is having a complete meltdown for lots of reasons which you’ll find out through the play. It’s a serious dark comedy.
What inspired you to write it?
I wrote it right after gay marriage became legal. It was just something I was interested in exploring—I wanted to create a character who has a lot of questions and criticisms of gay marriage. I also wanted to write my dream role and I wanted to play a big, loud, gay drunk mess that I don’t see getting written that much. We all kind of know that guy.
Did you intentionally set out to write a gay anti-hero?
For years we had stereotypical, sassy characters. They weren’t threatening, they were funny, and everyone loved them. Then we decided that that was stereotypical and we needed to shy away from that. A lot of gay characters now are really normal, aggressively boring people who say “I happen to be gay, dude.” That’s great that we normalized gay, but I’m interested in going deeper and exploring how we treat each other.
Where’s does the title come from?
I was invited to a wedding where they asked the guests not to wear bright colors or bold patterns. My friend who invited us, she just wanted everyone to look really pretty by wearing neutral tones. I thought “Is that what we [gay people] are doing to ourselves? Are we just scrubbing ourselves of brightness and boldness in the name of being like everybody else?”
Bright Colors and Bold Patterns returns November 12 at Soho Playhouse in New York.