Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

David Cale unearths tragedy, secrets in 'Short Time'
by Catey Sullivan
2018-09-10

This article shared 2062 times since Mon Sep 10, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Imagine the worst thing that could possibly happen to you as a child. Now, imagine something worse.

For groundbreaking multi-hyphenate David Cale ( singer-composer-actor-writer ), there's no "imagine" in the exercise. Growing up in one of England's most crime-plagued towns, his childhood would be dismissed as an exploitive, Dickensian knockoff were it the stuff of fiction.

With his musical memoir We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time, Cale lays bare a secret he's been carrying for most of his life, exposing the violent event that defined his childhood and shaped everything that followed. "Most people, even people I've known for decades, they don't know why I left London," said Cale of his abrupt departure from England in the late 1960s. "I've told only a few people. And they've freaked out. When people know, they look at me differently. They say they can't see me the same way anymore. It changes things."

Running Sept. 15-Oct. 21 at the Goodman's Albert Theatre, We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time features half a dozen songs composed by frequent Cale collaborator Matthew Dean Marsh. Cale sings all of them, backed by Marsh's on-stage quintet. Cale says the show—directed by Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls—is wholly unlike any of the previous six productions he's brought to the Goodman over the past 30 years.

The pice has the hallmarks of Greek tragedy—with a few key differences. In Cale's story, brutality goes unavenged. A young man's odyssey across continents and oceans does not, ultimately, lead him back home.

Cale plays numerous roles in the show, but the main character is his mother. Cale was 16 the last time he saw her in person. After that, she became a paper woman, existing only in lurid headlines and endless tabloid tell-alls, her life as a factory worker in Luton, England rewritten for salacious impact and mass consumption.

"Basically she was put on trial, but she was never able to defend herself," Cale said.

Cale has spent decades writing tunes for the likes of Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello and establishing a himself as one the country's foremost monologists. But he says he's "lost the map" with We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time.

"It's a new form for me," he said of the one-person autobiographical story-with-music. "I think I'm doing something that hasn't been done before. At least, I haven't seen anything like this out there."

Music has long been crucial to Cale's life. Growing up, he spent hours in his room listening to Judy Garland records. ( In one of Cale's earlier shows, his mother snaps at him that it's not normal for a boy to spend his life listening to a dead woman sing ). Garland's voice provided an escape from his parents' volatile marriage. But not even Judy could soften the violence that eventually consumed the household.

In talking about the production, Cale keeps circling back to his mother, who is featured on the show's promotional materials.

"She was a gifted, creative woman who had everything stamped out of her. There was no context for a woman like her in our town," he said. Cale grew up in industrial Luton, a place where—as he tells it—"you had two options. You could work in the hat factory or you could work in the car factory."

"It was brutal," Cale added. "When I was there, it had the highest crime rate in England. My mother would have flourished in a big city, someplace where there is an outlet for creativity. For people who think differently. But not in Luton. She never had a chance."

At 16, Cale dropped out of high school and left Luton for London. At 20, he left London and flew to the United States. "It wasn't a tortured decision," he said. "I had absolutely nothing to lose. If I'd stayed, I might have been killed. I never looked back."

Now he is looking back, and taking the audience with him. He's done three performances of "We're Only Alive" in New York, where the piece had an unexpected impact. "After people saw it, I was immediately asked to start speaking about trauma to various groups. To come lecture about survival and trauma. I turned everyone down. I'm not a spokesperson. I'm not a social worker. I don't want to be," Cale said.

"This show—it doesn't right any of the wrongs," Cale said. "But it gives me a chance to represent my mother. And I think she is representative of a lot of people. It's a complicated, tragic story. But I think it's life-affirming, too. In a way, what I do realizes my mother's potential. I wouldn't be an artist if it weren't for her."

Cale has this to say to people who feel as trapped as he did in Luton. "If it's killing your spirit, you have to leave. You have to. There was a certain point with my childhood when I felt like a kid standing with a bucket of water next to a house completely on fire. That bucket of water isn't going to do anything. So you have to flee."

Cale's longtime partner—an art conservationist—is apt to join him for part of the run. "We broke up, but I think we're getting back together. Yes, I would definitely say we're getting back together. He's coming here to see the show," Cale said.

"We met at a friend's birthday party," Cale continued. "I didn't think he was gay. So when he offered to give me a ride home I was a little cool. But I was tired, so I took the ride. Then he called me up and asked me out. It was all very old fashioned. He knows everything. "

We're Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time marks runs Sept. 15-Oct. 21 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets are $25 — 75.; visit www.goodmantheatre.org .


This article shared 2062 times since Mon Sep 10, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

A stocking stuffed with holiday shows!
2022-12-03
Christmas follows fast on Thanksgiving's leftovers, which means sugarplums-and-treacle time for Chicago theater, when many troupes offer holiday shows. There are at least 40 of 'em, from biggies such as the 45th annual A Christmas Carol ...


Gay News

Billy Porter receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
2022-12-02
On Dec. 1, award-winning actor/director/singer/playwright Billy Porter received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "I'm just so blessed and so grateful to be here," he said, according to KTLA. "James Baldwin said, 'It's an ...


Gay News

Peppermint barks while Broadway bangs, and all the other dish to start the week
2022-11-28
"I love Broadway. I love what they do—Broadway Cares, but I also want to say the show is extraordinary!" —Nicole Kidman's impromptu speech after bidding $100K to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for Hugh Jackman's hat after ...


Gay News

New York theaters bounce back: Four shows ask questions about identity
2022-11-22
All theater critics worth their salt should take a bite of the Big Apple now and then, savoring the bright lights of Broadway and a soggy slice of what passes for pizza. On my first visit in nearly three years, Broadway ...


Gay News

Gay man to head Chicago Latino Theater Alliance
2022-11-15
The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) announced the appointment of Jorge Valdivia as its new executive director, according to the Lawndale News. Valdivia's previous position was director of performing arts at the National Museum of Mexic ...


Gay News

Theater Review: Porchlight's Rent is a winner
2022-11-09
By Jonathan Abarbanel - Title: Rent. Playwright: Jonathan Larson (book, music, lyrics) At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center. Tickets: 773-777-9884; PorchlightMusicTheatre.org; $25 and up. Runs through: Dec. 11 From its 1996 premiere ...


Gay News

Mister International Rubber takes the stage at Center on Halsted, Riviera Theatre
2022-11-07
The MIR26 (Mister International Rubber) competition took place at the Center on Halsted and the Riviera Theatre over the Nov. 4-6 weekend. Pusckatt Pumera Onyx won the competition. The event was co-emceed by Lucy Stoole and ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Gay racer, GALECA, Lena Waithe, 'Chicago,' LGBTQ+ films
2022-11-06
Gay motorsports racer Zach Herrin made his long-awaited debut in a NASCAR-affiliated race in Phoenix, The Advocate noted. "I know I have a lot of eyes on me, and all I want to do is get out there and blur everything ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Nathan Lane, gala, Beyonce, Kevin Aviance, Henry Cavill, Shania
2022-10-30
Video below - Nathan Lane is returning to Broadway this winter to star in the debut run of Pictures of Home, per The Hollywood Reporter. Based on the photo memoir by Larry Sultan of the same name and adapted ...


Gay News

Young trans playwright queers Shakespeare in new production 'Malapert Love'
2022-10-29
The Artistic Home will debut Malapert Love on Nov. 5-Dec. 11 in Wicker Park at The Den Theatre's Upstairs Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. The gender-bending, Shakespearean romantic comedy was written by 18-year-old Siah Berlatsky, who's ...


Gay News

THEATER 'The Golden Girls' holiday special Nov. 26-Dec. 30
2022-10-27
Hell in a Handbag Productions is in The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, The Obligatory Holiday Special, playing Nov. 26-Dec. 30 at The Hoover-Leppen Theatre at The Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. Dorothy, Rose, ...


Gay News

'Cirque Dreams Holidaze' to take place Dec. 22-24
2022-10-26
Cirque Dreams Holidaze is set to dazzle Chicago audiences with a Broadway-style production infused with contemporary circus arts. The production will play for six performances on Dec. 22-24 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 Ida B. Wells ...


Gay News

16th Street Theater to close at the end of the year
2022-10-26
The board of Berwyn's 16th Street Theater announced that the award-winning, nationally acclaimed Equity theater company will close at the end of 2022. A statement read, "For 15 inspiring seasons, plus two years of the pandemic, ...


Gay News

Cody Estle to step down as Raven Theatre artistic director
2022-10-24
Raven Theatre's board of directors announced that Cody Estle will step down as the company's artistic director at the end of November. Estle has been the company's artistic leader since 2017. He will join Milwaukee's Next ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: COVID book, 'Wicked' cocktails, 'A Taste of Hope' and more
2022-10-24
—COVID-19, the LGBTQIA+ Community and Public Policy: As studies emerge to help us understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on every facet of modern life, it is critical that the effect of the pandemic on ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.