Have They Gone Psycho? Left Coast Theatre’s Newest Production is for The Birds

By Kevin M. Thomas, @ReelKev

Left Coast Theatre Company has made a name for themselves putting together one act LGBT-focused productions. For the last several years, they shared a similar thread sharing in the family dynamic or dysfunction.

It was quite surprising to hear about their latest collection of shorts as it’s entitled “Twisted Hitchcock,” all one acts that pay homage to director Alfred Hitchcock, and playing at Shelton Theatre through Aug. 26.

WTF, Rodney Rhoda Taylor? “We wanted to change things up for our audience and for our writers,” laughs the Executive Director of Left Coast.  “Families are great, but occasionally we do need to get away from them and experience something else in life.  This show was crafted by our wonderful Artistic Director, Rich Sargent.” He adds that just like the production “SF, Here I Come,” this show was written by our in-house writers. He said they kind of challenged each other and came up with the idea of developing stories that “took an Alfred Hitchcock movie and gave it a special LCTC twist.”

He adds, “I’m sure at some point in the future we’ll return to families and discuss the joys and heartaches they cause us. But of course it will be told with the typical LCTC wit and humor,” pointing out that their fall show, “The Morning After,” will have a few family themed pieces.

But this time, they are going further outside the box. Obviously, there will be no Tippi Hedren, but in an act that connects to “The Birds” Taylor says that “there will be a few bird like characters in this show. I know there’s a birdcage, a bird feeder and a few feathers. You’ll just have to come and see what we do.”

In fact, truth be told, a little bird got me a ticket to the show’s preview. The first two acts were good and clever. But that third act, “Birdsploitation” by Terry Maloney Haley, is a brilliant piece of theatre. Not only does it pay homage to Hitchcock, but manages to be a sophisticated satire that covers prejudice and the power to rise up and stand together. “The Birds” movie fans will also relish in the use of real facts from the movie and the behind the scenes melodramas.

In our chat, Taylor and I discussed how Hitchcock movies really aren’t that gay – except of course for any over-the-top acting scene or characters that imply homosexuality or the subtext does as in the films “Rope” and “Strangers on a Train.” And of course, stereotypically Norman Bates did live with his mother in “Psycho” and was flamboyant (and in the current TV series he’s had same sex relations.) But about making Hitchcock material gay, Taylor says, “Being an LGBTQ theatre company, we can gay up any show. A few sequins, a peeping tom, or with this show, a peeping Norman, and love scenes between two love birds of the same sex is how you gay up Alfred Hitchcock.”

But Taylor, who is also an accomplished actor, director and writer says he won’t be in any of the shows, done in three acts. “No parts for a witty queen like myself,” he says.

But he seems quite busy as the Executive Director. “This year marks the first year we’ve done three shows. We typically have done two a year, but this year we’ve really done some growing. We did our first full length production in May,”Dog Sees God,” he says, as they continued in that vein of  “Twisted Hitchcock.”  Taylor adds that next year is also going to be pretty exciting as well. “We are doing ‘The Laramie Project’ in April, a three act production in the summer called ‘Twin Peaks,’   It’s a like ‘SF Here I Come,’ but in a bar.”

Further, he says, they have achieved non-profit status and are fiscally sponsored by Intersection for the Arts, which may explain why I haven’t been invited to a pancake fundraiser.  “Oh my god, I completely forgot about our pancake fundraiser,” says Taylor. “It was definitely something different. But funds? What are those? Like most theaters in the Bay Area we struggle to raise funds, but this year we were the recipients of a TBA Ca$h Grant which has helped us with this years shows. We continue to look for ways to raise money and the more creative the better.”

More attention has been shed on the Company, having won a TBA Award for Best Anthology one time and nominated two additional times.

To get tickets and more information, go to www.lctc-sf.org