Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg Revised

Peter Serko in My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg. Photo courtesy Peter Serko

 Peter Serko is enjoying much deserved but surprising success with the one-person play, My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg. After it premiered at Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma Serko took it on the road where it was performed at the Cider Mill Playhouse in Endicott, New York, where much of the true story took place. The story, written and performed by Serko, is the true story of his brother who died of AIDS. It is touching, dramatic and surprisingly funny.

Serko has re-written it with minor tweaks written with the help of playwright Bryan Willis, and the revised play will enjoy a brief run in South Sound theaters beginning in January.  

Here is a slightly edited version of the review I wrote a year ago:

My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg

In the early 1980s local photographer Peter Serko found out his brother David was gay, and it was not long before he found out that David had AIDS, which in those devastating days of the epidemic was called the gay cancer. He flew to New York City, an epicenter of the disease, to be with his brother and was by his side along with their loving parents and David’s closest friends when David died at the age of 32.

David was a singer, a dancer and an actor. Among other productions he performed in, he toured with A Chorus Line.

Peter loved his brother. They were close at the end, but there had been a 20-year period when they were apart and knew nothing of one another’s lives. Another 20 years after David’s death, Peter felt compelled to learn as much as he could about those year’s when they were apart. Therefore he started the David Serko Project ), searching out hundreds of David’s friends, interviewing them and filming them, and finding photographs to document David’s life. This dramatic production at Dukesbay Theatre is a small part of that project.

Peter tells his and his brother’s story with the aid of projected videos and still photos. It is a moving story that is heartbreaking and funny, and adeptly staged with direction by Brian Desmond, lighting by Beth Steele and scenic and technical design by Henry Loughman.

To my knowledge, Peter is not a writer. He says in the show that he has never before written poetry; yet he wrote 14 poems for this show. He is also not an actor, yet he performs in this self-penned two-hour dramatic presentation with skill worthy of a theater professional. From a critical point of view the only quibble I have is that he was not able to hide his self-consciousness opening night.

Nevertheless his demeanor and timing were impeccable. His voice is soft and well-articulated, and his sincerity is palatable. The almost two-hour show zooms by. It is heartbreaking, inspirational, and generously peppered with comic relief. The descriptions of what AIDS did to David Serko’s body are hard to take, but this is not something we should close our eyes to. AIDS is very much still with us and despite marvelous advancements in treatment it is still destroying lives.

Upcoming Performances

Dukesbay Theater
508 S. Sixth Ave #10, Tacoma (3rd Floor Merlino Art Center), Tacoma
January 9,10,17 @ 7:00pm
Sunday Jan 18  
  @ 2:00pm
Tickets available @ Brown Paper Tickets

University of WA Tacoma
April 2015

Seattle Repertory Theatre
September 8, 2015

Pacific Lutheran University
October 2015
More info at davidserko.com

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