INTERVIEW: Divine/Intervention

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

By now you've seen (or at least heard of) Mimi Imfurst, you know that crazy RuPaul's Drag Race contestant that lives and works right here in Philadelphia? Did you know there's more to her than just drag? Braden Chapman (Mimi Imfurst) studied Directing in college and is poised to show off his skills with the World Debut of "Divine/Intervention." "D/I" is the moving and funny new play about the life of the John Waters film star DIVINE. I spoke with Braden and got the low down on this upcoming show.

Chris Balbi: In 1 tweet (<140 characters) tell me about "Divine/Intervention," bonus points for hashtags.
Braden Chapman: #DivineIntervention explores the world of the #JohnWaters cult icon #Divine, when #fame & #glamour are stripped away. #GETTICKETSNOW

CB: Let's get some basics out of the way, What is the story? Who wrote it, how long has this play been around and who is starring in it?
BC: I had the idea for "Divine/Intervention" about 3 years go. I pitched the idea to E. Dale Smith, a fantastic playwright out of New York City. For the last three years we’ve been very quietly and often secretly workshopping the play. We didn’t want anyone to know about it till it was time, and here she is! "Divine/Intervention" is the first play ever about the John Waters cult icon Divine- it takes place the night before her death. The really cool part of the play is that we have two actors playing Divine, one in drag (Bobby Goodrich aka Cleo Phatra) and one out of drag (Ryan Walter). In "Divine/Intervention" the two Divines move in mirror image of each other. The play is a conversation with yourself in the mirror. At the end of the day the story is relatable to all of us because we all know what it is like to struggle with our own ego and the obstacles that prevent us from being our truest selves. Its really dark, but really funny and enlightening.

CB: Who should see this show?
BC: Its a great play for fans of drag in general. Its the first time a piece of art has really dived into the psyche of a drag queen. Anyone who loves John Waters films or Divine should definitely run to see this play IMMEDIATELY. Its fascinating.

CB: Should we expect taste of Mimi, or is this strictly a Braden project?
BC: Well I think there’s always gonna be a taste of Mimi in everything I do, but I think anyone who has seen that monster on stage, might be surprised to see this side of my artistic endeavors. I’m a director by study, so its great to use these chops. I think people got a taste of what I’m capable of with our Drag Queen take on "INTO THE WOODS" back in February.

CB: What's been the biggest challenge so far, and how did you overcome it?
BC: Without a doubt the biggest challenge has been figuring out how these two actors move in mirror image of each other. It's a lot of discovery time in rehearsal- but it's amazing to watch and well worth it.

CB: If you could invite any person to sit in on a rehearsal, who do you think would provide the most insight?
BC: John Waters of course. Im equally terrified and excited for the day he sees the show. Its been so important for us to to tell Divine’s story with as much humanity and truth as possible, and I think we’ve done it.

You can get more information (times, tickets, Etc.) on here –

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