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Quirky 'Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll' Opens Tonight

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Courtesy of The Midnight Company

Among the tales of quiet desperation, there’s “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” written more than 20 years ago by Eric Bogosian.

“He speaks to my generation,” actor Joe Hanrahan told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “He grew up at the same time. He speaks, especially in this show, to the rock and roll life. To the pleasures it offers and the pitfalls. To him, it represents America: Both the things that we think of ourselves and the things that we do.”

Hanrahan stars in the one-man show, which has been updated with topical references and features a series of monologues about a group of quirky but often downtrodden men.

“All of these men, we describe them as driven and desperate,” said Hanrahan, who also is the co-founder and artistic director of The Midnight Company. “What’s interesting is that these characters are kind of jammed up against each other. I think for an audience it’s kind of like ‘Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who do we admire? Who do we have less sympathy for?’ There’s a dark side to every character.”

The characters include a homeless man, a former British rock star, an actor, a man in therapy, another who talks about the things he buys, a small-time pot dealer and a self-help guru.

“I think there’s something in the show to offend everybody,” Hanrahan said. “There’s moments when people get uncomfortable. I’m so close to the audience, I can tell. I’m talking about something, whether it’s religion or sex or drugs and I can see people stiffening up. It’s like they either are offended or they just don’t want to admit that they know what I’m talking about.”

One-man shows are not new to Hanrahan. His first was another Bogosian play, “Drinking in America.”

“It’s challenging in terms of just work and preparation and endurance in a sense,” Hanrahan said. “As an actor, I never thought of doing a one-man show. When I started doing them, there were no one-man shows.”

Since “Drinking in America,” though, he said he has kept finding good scripts, many from Bogosian.

“Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” is an encore performance, open for only three shows this weekend at Herbie’s Vintage 72 in St. Louis. Hanrahan originally presented the show in August 2014.

Related Event

"Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll"

  • When: Jan. 2-4, 2015
  • Where: Herbie's Vintage 72, 405 N. Euclid, St. Louis
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.

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