Award-winning writer/performer Marga Gomez returns to The Marsh San Francisco stage for live performances of Spanking Machine, her by turns funny, intense, and heart-rending memoir of growing up brown and queer in Washington Heights. Childhood pranks, Devil Dogs, sadistic nuns on poppers, assault, and suppressed memory play their parts in Gomez’s shift across gender, latitudes, and generations. The narrative is propelled by a fraught reunion with her childhood friend “Scotty.” As Gomez explains, “His real name was Agamemnon Perez Jr. but he shortened it to ‘Scotty’ because he thought Agamemnon sounded too Cuban.” He was the first boy that she ever kissed, and it made them both gay forever.
Spanking Machine was first commissioned as a work in progress in 2019 for the Syracuse Stage “Cold Read” Festival, and developed (from 2019 through 2020) with director Adrian Alea. While a 2020 premiere at Brava Theater (San Francisco) was canceled due to the pandemic, a virtual adaption of the work was commissioned in July 2020 by Dixon Place (New York) and was presented via digital stream at Brava Theater and San Diego Repertory Theatre. Critics have applauded the work, with the San Francisco Chronicle cheering Gomez in this piece, noting “She’s a ceramics-shattering, pleasure-seeking, curiosity-gratifying observer with quick wit and a sharper tongue. She’s learned how to take herself out of a bad situation. She’s learned how to ask for what she wants.”
As the writer/performer of thirteen solo plays and a stand-up comedian, Marga Gomez has been described as “deliciously cheeky and incendiary” by The New York Times, and “astonishing” by Armistead Maupin, and “amazing… a lesbian Lenny Bruce” by Robin Williams. Her solo plays have been developed with and staged by renowned New York director David Schweizer, as well as Adrian Alea, Ellen Sebastian Chang, and David Ford. She is the winner of a GLAAD Award for Theater and a three-time winner of San Francisco Bay Guardian’s “Best Of The Bay Comedian.” Her acting credits include Translating Selena (Campo Santos, 2020), Dr. Rides American Beach House (Off-Broadway at Ars Nova, 2019), and Sense8 (Netflix). She also teaches solo performance online (margagomez.com). A beloved performer at The Marsh, her credits there since 1991include award-winning, long-running productions of Latin Standards, Love Birds, Memory Tricks, and Not Getting Any Younger.
PERFORMANCE DATES: September 17 to October 23, 2021