Performer Erin Markey brings her "home movies" to San Francisco
But it's just so complicated. There's almost nothing else to do but make creative work around it, just to reflect and acknowledge how complicated it is. I think it does that work much more service than being just "for" or "against." The experience really changed my relationship to storytelling. Performing there feels really similar to performing for any crowd. But in that context you never know what exploitation means, if you're being exploited or if you're exploiting them because you're affecting this interest. It feels similar to acting and doing cabaret and stuff like that. So I tried to tease out what felt the most sincere, even if it was really absurdist and ridiculous — that feels most sincere sometimes. Those just go in and out: being really absurd and being hard and real.
SFBG Can you explain who the Dardys are?
EM Actually, maybe 10 years ago, I don't remember when, but in San Francisco I went to a drag king competition. There was a workshop, and I took it. We were all making drag king characters. I used to sing a little song in my head all the time, like a gibberish song: "hardee, dardee, hardee, har ..." So I just decided to name my guy Hardy Dardy. He ended up being my go-to drag persona. He's actually been in almost every show I've ever made on some level, even if he wasn't named as Hardy Dardy. He was in Puppy Love, and he was in a show that I made about being my sister's maid of honor.
He had his own show called The Curse, which was talk-show style. During that show, I ended up having to flesh out more of his life. His wife was first introduced in Puppy Love, actually. He mentions briefly that he went to the strip club when he got upset one day. So Molly became his wife, and I became very interested in her. She's definitely not my mom, but she could be very good friends with her. I started making the Dardy Family Home Movies based on Molly's experience mostly — her dealing with her kids leaving home, and having to re-understand her entire identity. I watched my mom go through that. All she wanted to do was be a good stay-at-home mom. It's not like other professions where the older you get supposedly the higher up you get in the ranks, and the more you become what you wanted to be in the first place. You prepare these children to leave and be good people, and then they leave.
SFBG It's sort of built-in obsolescence.
EM I thought about that a lot when I thought about the women at the strip club — how they depreciate in value over time, because youth is a really important part of making money in that context. It seems like this dark cloud hanging over these women's heads. As an actor, I know what the value of being young is in this industry. It hangs over our heads as well. This show [includes] the conversation between Molly and her daughter, Kelly — who's "a lot like me," heh, heh — and who's ultimately talking about being a performer. These things I'm talking about aren't crazy explicit [in the show] necessarily. It's a family of characters that I've been developing over years. But in the subtext of everything, this stuff is definitely there.
THE DARDY FAMILY HOME MOVIES BY STEPHEN SONDHEIM BY ERIN MARKEY
Through Dec. 11
Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m., $15
SFFS New People Cinema
1746 Post, SF