'Bitch Slap!' - 'Dynasty' in drag at Oasis

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday April 16, 2024
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Katya Smirnoff-Skyy (left) and D'Arcy Drollinger, with Nancy French (right) in another cat fight in the 2017 production of 'Bitch Slap!' (photo: Gooch)
Katya Smirnoff-Skyy (left) and D'Arcy Drollinger, with Nancy French (right) in another cat fight in the 2017 production of 'Bitch Slap!' (photo: Gooch)

Primetime soap operas like "Dynasty" are fondly remembered by gay men of a certain age. It's sometimes hard to believe that nearly four decades have passed since Krystle (Linda Evans) and Alexis (Joan Collins) engaged in some of the most brutal, knockout, drag-out fights the small screen has ever seen, all while impeccably dressed in stunning gowns and jewels. And even though they often slapped each other silly, not a strand of hair was ever out of place.

In 2017, Oasis staged "Bitch Slap!," a live-on stage homage to "Dynasty" with a touch of "Days of Our Lives" and novelist Jackie Collins thrown in for good measure. "Bitch Slap!" proved to be so popular that Oasis is doing it again.

From April 25 until May 18, "Bitch Slap!" will grace the Oasis stage, starring San Francisco Drag Laureate D'Arcy Drollinger and a bevy of other local drag talents, including Matthew Martin, Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, and Valentine, with Michael Phillis, Manuel Caneri, Pablo Escobar, and Samuel Prince as the smoldering leading men.

"It's a tour-de-force in terms of performers that have faced the Oasis stage over the years," Drollinger, who also serves as the show's writer and director, said in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter. "Each one a star in their own right."

The show will certainly live up to its title, as all the elements that made shows like "Dynasty" so popular will be on display. Adultery, blackmail, confessions, amnesia, nervous breakdowns, bigamy, adoptions, divorce, kidnapped babies, evil twins, seductions, shoulder pads and catfights.

"There are 58 individual slaps and four fights," said Drollinger. "Audiences will not be disappointed."

D'Arcy Drollinger and Matthew Martin in a promo photo for 'Bitch Slap!'  

Drollinger spoke briefly about why shows like "Dynasty" garnered such a huge fan base among gay men.

"I think gay men love flamboyant women to be sure," he said. "And 'Dynasty' delivers, but 'Dynasty' also had a lead character come out on primetime TV in the '80s. It was groundbreaking."

While keeping up with his intense Oasis schedule, Drollinger is also enjoying his work as San Francisco Drag Laureate.

"It's been a wild ride," he said. "And I'm here for it. The Drag Laureate appointment has been a bigger responsibility than I had originally expected, but at the same time incredibly rewarding. I'm nearing my midway point and there is so much more I hope to accomplish."

Drollinger is delighted that drag has become as big as it is now, though, as he points out, everything old is new again.

"We've had drag since Shakespeare," he said. "We had Milton Berle and Flip Wilson in drag on TV in the 60s. But I didn't think queer drag, the drag that came out of our communities, would have become as accessible as it is now. Clearly 'Drag Race' had a big hand in it."

Post Drag Laureate, Drollinger has big plans for "Bitch Slap!"

"My goal is to develop 'Bitch Slap!' into a TV show," he said. "Netflix, are you listening? I think the world is ready for a high camp '80s drag soap, where instead of fighting over oil they are fighting over the shoulder pads patent. I think it could run for many seasons with guest stars from both the drag world and the soap world."

'Bitch Slap!' April 25-May 18, Oasis, 298 11th Street, $40-$75.

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