“Jerker” Makes P’town Debut Aug 1st

Following our triumphant World Premiere of Sarah Schulman’s The Lady Hamlet, on Monday, August 1st, we are very proud to be bringing you the New England Premiere of Robert Chesley’s controversial classic Jerker.

Honestly, I can’t believe it’s taken 35 years to get here!

Set in the mid-80s in San Francisco, this 90-minute play charts the course of a romantic friendship between two gay men who never actually meet in-person, but rather develop a deeply intimate relationship via the oft-ridiculed use of phone sex. Indeed, upon its off-Broadway debut in 1987, the New York Times keenly observed:

“Jerker accurately bills itself as ‘a pornographic elegy with redeeming social value’ and its gamy language and simulated autoeroticism are definitely not for squeamish tastes. But they serve a poignant purpose by pointing out, more bluntly than any other play dealing with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, how the epidemic has threatened one of the fundamental reasons for an entire group’s very existence – its freedom of erotic expression – and challenged its hard-won self-esteem.”

In fact, it was from the play’s audacious adult language and sexual scenarios, that Robert Chesley’s Jerker found itself at the center of an obscenity controversy when a Pacifica Radio affiliate broadcast excerpts from the play in 1986. A Christian minister named Larry Poland filed a complaint with the FCC the next day, claiming he tuned into the broadcast accidentally and that it “did violence to [him] and [his] family.” Poland continued, “They potentially took away my control of being able to protect my children from learning about certain sexual practices at certain times in their lives.” Chesley responded, “Prudery kills, on the radio or anywhere else. Nobody ever died from being offended by what they see or hear.”

In turn, the FCC sanctioned the radio station, and implemented new, more stringent broadcast indecency guidelines.

Playing Mondays thru Thursdays, Aug 1 – Sept 1 at 7PM at our playhouse at 238 Bradford St, Jerker stars Joe MacDougall — whom Outer Cape theater-goers will remember from his starring roles in The Elephant Man at W.H.A.T. and in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart on our stage — and also boasts the U.S. stage debut of British-born TV and film actor Stephen Walker, who recently settled down in P’town after he and his husband P.J. Wilson purchased and refurbished The Bradford at 41 Bradford Street, across from The Commons.

Tickets for Jerker can be purchased today by clicking the link below:

Click for Tickets!

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