Tony-winning writer Joe DiPietro (‘Memphis’, ‘The Toxic Avenger,’ ‘What’s New Pussycat?’), brings a raw and updated new version of F**king Men for 2023 to Waterloo East Theatre.
A modern retelling of Schnitzler’s infamous classic ‘La Ronde’ F**king Men is a dramatic comedy that follows 10 men through a series of erotic encounters that change their lives in small but significant ways.
Starring Alex Britt, Charlie Condou (only scheduled to appear until 21 May), Derek Mitchell and Stanton Plummer-Cambridge, F**king Men starts previews at Waterloo East Theatre on Thursday 20 April. The strictly limited season is booking to Sunday 18 June.
An updated version of F**king Men is coming to Waterloo East, what can you tell us about the show?
A lot has changed in the lives of gay men over the years and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to update the show. Working with director Steven Kunis has enabled me to see the play through a much younger lens. Steven’s production is very modern, very exciting and surprisingly moving. And I’m in awe of the expert intimacy work of Lee Crowley. I’ve never seen anything like it on stage.
What inspired you to write it, and why that title?
When I wrote the show in the mid-aughts, I thought there was little chance anyone would produce such an explicit exploration of how gay men use sex for intimacy and connection and love. Since I thought the play had little chance of being produced, I thought why not give it an unproducable title? To my delight, it’s been produced many times over the years.
Why did now feel like a good time for an update of the original?
As we’ve (finally!) started having society-wide discussions about the vast spectrum of gender and sexuality, I was hungry to re-explore what it means to be a cis-gendered man who has sex with cis-gendered men. And though gay men have become much more accepted during my lifetime, as one of the characters says in the play, “This is America, it still matters what you do with your dick.”
It’s very different from shows you’ve previously written, like Memphis and The Toxic Avenger, what do you enjoy about taking on new subjects and genres?
I think I always confuse critics a bit because I never write the same show twice. For whatever reason, I’ve always had a natural curiosity for many different theatrical genres, though I think there’s always a comic heartbeat at the centre of all my shows. Certainly F**king Men is very funny at points, which makes total sense because I often find sex hilarious.
What’s impressed you most about this new cast for F**king Men?
Their ability to play 2 or 3 distinct characters and give them each clear and compelling inner lives. I need to mention their names — Charlie Condou, Stanton Plummer-Cambridge, Alex Britt and Derek Mitchell. And they’re all fearless on stage — effortlessly sexy and human and funny.
What’s New Pussycat? recently ran at Birmingham Rep, what plans do you have for that show?
I just spoke with Pussycat’s producer about this very subject. We were thrilled how it was such a success at Birmingham, and we’ve been waiting for the right West End theatre to become available (there’s currently a backlog of shows waiting to come in.) Long story short, we’re all optimistic it’ll reach the West End in the near future.
And how are preparations going for the upcoming run of SINATRA?
Wonderfully! Director Kathleen Marshall has come up with a fully-realised theatrical vision for the show, and our largely British cast is fantastic (we recently held auditions.) The musical tells the story of a little-known time in Frank’s life — in the late 1940’s, both his marriage and career fell apart and he seemed headed for obscurity. But then in 1952, he had a remarkable comeback which made him into the legend we know today. That’s the arc of the show and of course it’s filled with many of his iconic songs.
Finally, What would you say to anyone thinking of booking tickets for F**king Men?
Don’t bring the kids!