by Daniel Goldberg
Director and Co-writer, Stationary
I love Shirley Havermore. In some sense, I am Shirley Havermore. But it would be a mistake to assume that just because I wrote and directed Shirley’s story (and make no mistake—this story belongs to her), I know all of her secrets.
Shirley is obsessed with her boss Gwen, who has the perfect husband, job, and hip lifestyle, as exemplified (and satirized) by her couples’ spinning workout regime. By getting in on the couples’ spinning action, Shirley seeks to “become” Gwen.
But the nascent sexuality of a queer person is often phrased in exactly those terms: “admiring” the person you actually want to have. Is Shirley gay? Is this a story about female friendship, or a closeted romance?
Over tea, I presented Stacie Capone, who plays Shirley, with both possibilities—and even with my own hunch that she was, in fact, gay. But, in the name of letting her make the character her own, I never asked her which choice she made. Watching her performance in rehearsal and on set, both interpretations seemed plausible—which, in my book, meant that whatever she was doing was working.
But with gay marriage legal in 35 states and gay sexuality being depicted pretty matter-of-factly on a host of cable and network tv shows, why tell a story about repressed sexuality? Isn’t that kind of backwards?
To me, that kind of coded, perverse sexuality is part of what makes Stationary a camp film—and I’d argue that camp is just as relevant as ever.
Through camp, Stationary reveals the regressed nebbish lackey, the “mean girl” boss, and the awkwardly earnest loverboy to be poses. But the characters are no less compelling—after all, who can’t relate to the feeling that they’re stuck posing as themselves? And what could be more queer than that?