H.M. Koutoukas was one of Off-Off-Broadway's original voices in the 1960's heyday of the movement. His original plays, which he called "camps" before Susan Sontag popularized the term, included With Creatures My Way, Medea in the Laundromat and Only a Countess May Dance When She’s Crazy. Dismissed by Stefan Brecht in the 1970's as a creator of “pitiful faggot theatre”, as opposed to the more radical "queer theatre," Koutoukas has remained largely unpublished and sometimes forgotten (although not by artists such as Penny Arcade, who name him as an influence).
Attention can be paid to the Off-Off-Broadway legend Jan. 25-Feb. 18 when his The Man Who Shot His Washing Machine plays Theatre for the New City. Legendary psychedelic director Tom O'Horgan directs.
In this small-town America comedy, Koutoukas brings together several diverse story lines. There's the handsome Sumerian scholar who has shot his washing machine to death with a well-aimed shot to the wringer, the garden club ladies at war with the Koran-reading book club girls and a fainting goat with a Rottweiler companion.
O'Horgan, like Koutoukas, was a theatrical innovator, although in a more legit arena. At one time, he had four productions running on Broadway - Hair, Lenny, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Inner City. His directing credits include innumerable musicals and plays, including premieres by Sam Shepard and Lanford Wilson.
Tickets to The Man Who Shot His Washing Machine are $10. Theatre for the New City is located at 155 First Avenue at 10th Street. For reservations, call (212) 254-1109. Theatre for the New City is on the web at http://www.theatreforthenewcity.com. — By Christine Ehren