Stuart Bousel’s name keeps popping up in theatre circles. Sometimes it’s from people wondering what No Nude Men Productions is. Other times it’s for the projects he’s directed at Custom Made Theatre Company.
Or perhaps it’s because he’s the winner of a SF Weekly Best of Bay Award for 2013 for Best Ringmaster. No, Bousel is not in the circus. But he’s been acknowledged for juggling different shows as director, writer and actor all the while doing a lot of the publicity for the shows as well.
So it almost seems calming that Bousel has a play opening tomorrow and it almost seems that’s all he has in the foreground. For now.
“The Age of Beauty,” which he wrote and directed, is a 90 minute one-act play about four conversations between women. One set in New York, one in Oakland, one on a train in between both places and one examining long distance romantic relationships. Bousel himself thinks of his play as “The Heidi Chronicles” meets “My Dinner With Andre” and hopes the audience can relate to the how relationships change, develop and/or come to an end.
Inspiration comes in many forms and Bousel shuns to be compared to a Neil LaBute (maybe his play’s title sounds more LaBute than the actual prose) but fancies himself more a “Hal Hartley or a post-punk E.M. Forster.”
As for being a male writing from the woman’s point of view, Bousel says. “I have been writing from multiple perspectives since I was 15 and technically I wrote my first ‘as a woman’ story then. So, it’s true that this is my first (and only) all female play, but women have always played very prominent roles in my work even when my plays center around a man which most of them do.”
Bousel adds, “I don’t consider myself a ‘women’s writer’ but I do pride myself on creating complex and interesting female characters,” pointing out it’s also important male characters are just as complex and interesting. “I mean, really, if you aspire to be a good writer, anyone you write about should be developed and any perspective should be interesting.”
After “Beauty” Bousel returns to the “circus,” juggling many events and roles. He will be the hospitality coordinator for the SF Fringe Festival and will also have his “See Also All” at the Fringe’s Exit Theatre in November.
“After that, I am taking a break to work on ‘Rat Girl’ a stage adaptation of musician Kristin Hersh’s memoirs,” he says, “And then directing “The Crucible’ for Custom Made, slated to open in May.”
“The Age of Beauty” plays August 1-17 at 8pm at the Exit Theatre in San Francisco. Tickets available at www.theexit.org/age/
You can also learn more about his “circus” at www.horrorunspeakable.com, www.custommade.org or www.sffringe.org.