Michael Best wants you to Go To Hell. After the success of his award-winning Gay White Trash in 2008, Best returns with a play following Johnson, a self-obsessed gay lawyer, who dies and finds himself in one circle of hell.
Turns out the Christians were right---all gays do go to Hell. Best questions values, identity and redemption. "I was traveling alone in Greece, and had come from Mykonos---a hedonistic gay mecca, which was great, but a little overwhelming," he says. "I think I started to feel a little Catholic guilt from all the misbehaving I did there, but there was no atonement for it."
Best turned to the page, and found himself scripting the first draft of Go To Hell, originally written as a screenplay, which he later adapted the story for theatrical production. Initially, he had 50 speaking roles in the script and narrowed it down to it to 16 characters, played by six actors, featuring Best, Tara Doyle, Matthew Lumley, Gordon White, Jim Fowler and Dawn Negus.
"I just broke it all down to the bare bones essence of the story, and got back to my theatre roots," says Best. "I started to figure out how to evoke the mood I wanted through lighting and costume more than big sets and locations."
Despite the major hack job to the original script, Best is thrilled to premiere Go To Hell at Atlantic Fringe Festival. He promises there is something for everyone---everything from live banjo music, to a WWE-style scene with a yeti and yes, even a unicorn.
"Being a recovering Catholic, I've always had a penchant for skewering religion in many forms and just kind of turning those beliefs on their head," says Best. "Expect your jaw to drop open and find yourself laughing at things you never thought you would."