Joe Steiff has enormous hands, and they quietly, persistently grab your attention during his monologue, “Golden Corral,” one of numerous shows included in this year’s 11th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival at Live Bait Theater. Steiff’s stage presence is one of calm resignation as he rests those imposing hands on his thighs, or on the back of a chair, and takes us on a trip to the small Appalachian farm where he was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. The return home was precipitated by the debut of his first book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking” (Steiff worked with Michael Moore on “Roger & Me,” and currently teaches film at Columbia College), and his mother, brimming with pride, organized a signing at the local library, although “it’s not like there are a lot of filmmakers in my hometown,” he says. He could have added—and does so later, gradually and wryly—that gay acceptance is in short supply, as well. This is rural America, he explains, where homosexual means child molester. Through a series of short, interlocking stories, we get a textured sense of what life was like for Steiff as child on the farm, and later as an adult, taking his first tentative steps towards living an openly gay life, trying to find his way through a thicket where romance and sex aren’t always what they seem. Working with director Brigid Murphy, Steiff has found a style that suits him well, and his recollection of the day his friend Brenda pointed a gun at his sternum and pulled the trigger—all in jest, mind you—is vividly told. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.