Dotson Rader's memoirs of his years as a writer and anti-Vietnam War activist in the early 1970's have been adapted into a play by Edward Musto. Blood Dues, directed by Richard Galgano, opens at Off-Off Broadway's Theatre Foray on East 19th Street Oct. 12, after beginning previews Friday, Oct. 10.
Blood Dues tells of two friends who join the counterculture movement in the 1960s. One becomes a foot-soldier in the Weather Underground; the other part of New York's radical chic literary scene.
The play, which also takes into consideration Rader's friendship with Tennessee Williams, stars Zeke Rippy and Dana Watkins and also features Frank Avoletta, Dannette Bock, Ben Golden, Mick Hilgers, Nomi Tichman and Craig Watkinson.
Reached by phone the morning after the first preview, playwright Ed Musto told Playbill On-Line that the lead character, Dotson (played by Zeke Rippy), is at a turning point in his life. "He's not sure what path to take, and it's a struggle between politics and art. He's also at a crossroads with his sexuality."
Tennessee Williams figures prominently in the play. He and Dotson met in an "art house" -- actually a code word for adult theatres at the time. "Back then," notes Musto, "they were considered a kind of art film." Dotson and Williams were never lovers, but they were good friends, and Dotson learned much "by osmosis" from watching Williams' discipline and work ethic in New York and Key West. "It's a brilliant performance by Mick Hilgers," notes Musto (who is, by the way, of no relation to Village Voice critic Michael). "He's 28 but he's playing Williams at 60." Blood Dues was written in 1984, and this production is essentially a revival of a staging six months ago at The American Theatre Of Actors (ATA). Musto's other plays include The Genevieve Duvall Affair (1983), Porter Peace (1990) and his first comedy, Boston Proper, which Musto is nearly certain will be produced Off-Off-Broadway in spring 1997.
For tickets & information on Blood Dues, which runs to Oct. 27, call (212) 726-8572.
-- By David Lefkowitz