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Priscilla Poppycocks dishes on ‘Livin’ For Drag: The Making of a Queen’

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Priscilla Poppycocks dishes on ‘Livin’ For Drag: The Making of a Queen’ (image by Jennifer Lynn)

BANGOR – Get ready to drag yourself to the Bangor Arts Exchange for a one-person show unlike anything you’ve seen before.

“Livin’ For Drag: The Making of a Queen” is an original musical featuring Bangor’s own Priscilla Poppycocks and directed by Brad LaBree. With book and lyrics by Dominick Varney and music by Varney, Phil Burns and Harry Burns, the show will take place at the Bangor Arts Exchange on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5. Tickets are available at www.bangorartsexchange.com.

The show explores the journey of one Priscilla Poppycocks and her growth into the fabulous queen that she is today, an autobiographical journey loaded with laughter, tears and plenty of sass. Oh, and more than a few cocktails too.

To help prepare the Queen City for this particular queen, I reached out to speak to Miss Poppycocks (and Mr. Varney too, I guess) about this project. Both were gracious enough to respond to my questions via e-mail – I was unable to meet them in person, for fear of being overwhelmed by sheer fabulousness.

What compelled you to want to create this kind of show?

Priscilla Poppycocks: Honey, it is time for Bangor to hear my story! I've got sass, class and an ass to gas!

I have spent the past year and a half creating this show! When the pandemic hit, I immediately took action. I started a talk show that connected people together from all of the country during a time when we were scared and isolated. That time separated from loved ones allowed me to reflect on my life and all that I have been through. Every week on that show, we laughed, cried, yelled and danced together, forgetting what makes us all different and breathing in what makes us all the same: Compassion, courage and understanding. 

The outpouring from this community in response was overwhelming. Parents looking for guidance, children seeking safety, schools wanting advice. That's when I knew I needed to tell my story. If I can help, I will. People seem scared when they see a drag queen: no more! I am here to help take your fear away and replace it with joy.

What has the process of putting the piece together been like?

Dominick Varney: Well, in all honesty, it has been somewhat easy to write - it is my life. 

The stories and memories are true and are the ones that made me who I am today, as messed up as that is! While some of the stories are hard to retell, they are important because they could help others.

At the end of the day, I want people to see the human behind Priscilla. I want them to hear the struggles and enjoy the celebrations, and in so doing reflect on their own experiences to see how impactful actions really are on others.

As for the songs, lyrics and melodies? They were in my head from the beginning and when I partnered with Phil Burns and Harry Burns, they became music. They took the songs in my head and gave them the ability to be heard. They are the dream team. 

After many readings of the script, I realized I needed to take the leap and put it on its feet – or rather, on its heels! 

What were some of the inspirations behind the show?

DV: It is rare that we as human beings have the opportunity to dive into what it means to do drag, and what drag means to do for our lives. I have spent my life balancing fear and confidence as I looked in the mirror. Drag has helped me define and love the reflection looking back. To me, it is more than impersonation, it's more than theatre. Priscilla is expression She is influential. She is experimentation. She is life. 

What should audiences expect?

PP: Honey, audiences will get a taste – literally – of what growing up in Maine was like for me. Oh, can you stand it?!?! Yes yes YES!!!

They will get 90 minutes of stories, cocktails and songs as they embrace drag and the drag that exists inside. Ninety minutes! When was the last time you allowed your jaw to drop for an hour and half!??!

There will be plenty of glitter, makeup, sequins and fun!  I mean, I was directed by the one and only Brad LaBree – he was ALL MINE during this process – and people will see his comedic stylings and special touch throughout. There are only a few people i will let tell me how to swivel my hips, purse my lips or snap my fingers!

It is going to be a safe space for all who want to just sit back and drink in what it means to be livin’ for drag.

(“Livin’ For Drag: The Making of a Queen” will run at the Bangor Arts Exchange on December 4 and 5. For tickets or more information, visit the BAE website at www.bangorartsexchange.com.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 December 2021 08:52

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