Boy, bi: “I Was A Teenage Bisexual” at Grimfest and The Edinburgh Horror Festival
The award-winning* Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company (Peaceful, Back Door) returns for an autumn run of a brand new show by Polis Loizou, winner of Best New Writing for Mr Fox (2021)**. I Was A Teenage Bisexual will appear for two performances at London’s Grimfest and a Hallowe’en performance at the Edinburgh Horror Festival.
The show is about a bullied schoolboy whose community is rocked by gruesome attacks that may or may not be supernatural. It’s a monster mash of theatrical monologue, folklore and poetry that’s both a homage to vintage horror B-movies and a satire of bigoted attitudes that continue to pervade society.
“Growing up bi wasn’t easy,” says Polis. “Not only do you struggle to fit into a heteronormative world, but you also have to fight the prejudices about bi people from both the straight and gay communities.”
Bisexuals are often regarded (and portrayed in the media) as confused, temporary, manipulative, greedy, or even totally imaginary.
“I wanted to play with that,” Polis continues. “And turn bisexuals into something like a monster from a horror movie — a creature with its roots in folklore, and links to witchcraft… basically like werewolves.”
As well as a writer-performer, Polis has spent the past few years developing his skills in the traditional art of oral folklore storytelling, and infuses his new piece with tales of beast-men and dark magic.
But that’s not all. Having joined GOBS Collective, a spoken word group based in Nottingham, where he lives with his husband, he’s even worked poetry into the narrative.
“I see this piece as a horror B-movie in the form of a stage musical, but instead of songs there’s folklore and poetry,” Polis explains. “It’s a way for my protagonist, who shares a great deal of my own experiences as a bi man, to dissect his own issues — regarding his sexuality, his gender and his own body against the expectations of an often intolerant, rigid and even downright cruel society. This is a show that asks you to empathise with the monster, and resent the torch-wielding villagers for not letting it live in peace.”
The show is supported by Arts Council England’s Develop Your Creative Practice scheme. It was first seen in its early stages in June, as part of A Pinch of VAULT, a festival of scratch performances. It then went on to Buxton Fringe in July, where it picked up a nomination for Best New Writing.
21 & 22 October, 7pm
The Old Red Lion, Angel
Edinburgh Horror Festival
31 October, 8pm
*The John Beecher Memorial Award (for Back Door, 2014)
** Also nominated for Best Actor and Best Production
A Good Year (Fairlight Moderns) by Polis Loizou
Rural Cyprus, 1925. Despo is recently married, heavily pregnant and deeply afraid. The twelve days of Christmas are beginning – the time when, according to local folklore, creatures known as kalikantzari come up from Hell to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, her husband Loukas has troubles of his own. Struggling with dreams and desires he doesn’t understand, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to an Englishman, a newcomer to the island.
In a village wreathed in superstition, Despo and Loukas must protect themselves and their unborn child from ominous forces at play.