Kegan Pic

Kegan Marling

2011 Artist in Residence

Kegan Marling is a performer, artist and arts-administrator from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kegan has been performing for the past 20 years with artists including Scott Wells, Della Davidson, Lea Anderson, Nigel Charnock and Jane Schnorrenberg. Marling was the co-director of the Renaud-Wilson Dance Festival and has served on the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee, Dance/USA’s national task force on Emerging Leaders, the San Francisco Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals Group, and has served on arts panels including the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. He is Program Director at Dancers’ Group, and a collaborating artist with the MuseMapWalk think-tank and Della Davidson’s Sideshow Physical Theatre.

Photographer: David Papas,

Performing Thursday-Sunday, March 31-April 3, 8pm

Jump ship mid way

Jump ship mid way & Friend ImageGrown up. It’s what we become once we take on a certain degree of social responsibility – for a partner (marriage), a child (parenthood) or a community (military duty). But for many queer youth, there can be many obstacles to obtaining this cultural acceptance. We grow into an understanding of how the world works with few models of how to transition from gay youth to gay adult to gay elder. Or what it even means to be a “gay adult.” Jump ship mid way imagines some of the unique paths to community acceptance navigated by gay men, and some of the traps and treasures of a queer community which frequently elevates youth and which is uncertain of a need for “adulthood.”

Cast: James Graham, Kegan Marling, Mica Sigourney, Nol Simonse

Media Sponsors: SFBG logo 7x7 logo Bay Stages logo

Kegan Marling will be performing Jump ship mid way as a double bill with Dandelion Dancetheater.


Kegan's Blogs

Audience Reactions to Kegan Marling and Dandelion Dancetheater
Apr 1st, 2011


Light the Fire
Mar 29th, 2011

I’ve never felt I fit in with what I believed was THE gay community, a culture that seemed to be marked by an ease and openness around sex that I did not possess. I’ve always felt a tension between the family-oriented grown-up part of me and this coy inner-child navigating an overtly sexual community. Over the past few years, as I’ve begun to explore multiple queer communities and identities,  it seemed important to understand what originally led me to thinking of the gay community as a singular identity in the first place. Which is how this work first started.

On some level, I’m discovering some of my youthfulness through the process of creating this work. I’m working with three truly thoughtful artists (Mica Sigourney, James Graham and Nol Simonse) who all have somewhat different trajectories in how they’ve navigated growing up in the queer community, and how they experience youth. Hearing their stories has triggered some changes in my assumptions and my own relationship with youth.

I guess I’ve always been interested in storytelling. From the start I’ve had an image of people sitting around a fire – with someone in the center re-enacting an old tale. I want to get at that feeling. It has been exciting playing with how to bring the audience into that experience, and how our stories can help us navigate an otherwise vast and unwieldy topic. I’m ready for us to light the bonfire and start welcoming folks to have a seat. Get comfy. Pull up close.


Coming Home
Mar 14th, 2011

I’ve often thought about what it means to come home to someone.

When you come home to someone, there’s comfort and consistency. A dog’s tail wagging, rich smells from the kitchen and maybe a kid slamming the screen door to escape outside into the air and wilderness and unknown.

But coming home feels like too many slices of other peoples dreams. I get lost in them. They’re flip books from another era and a different group of people sitting around telling stories of what the good days were like. And I watch my queer community gnaw on coming home and drain its power and its mystique and its joy.

So I’m left uncertain if coming home is my dream and I’m simply afraid of the opinion of my tribe, or if coming home is that third beer, the one that costs a piece of your soul and helps you forget about the direction you didn’t take.

We’re in the final stretch and it’s now a matter of stitching together the pieces and trying to not get lost in the details. The showing Saturday was useful to a degree, but I think a different structure would have suited everyone in perhaps a bit more useful way. I’ve since had some important conversations with my mentors in this process and I feel I have the tools to strengthen the weak spots and bridge some connections.

I want to stay messy, while letting things have a clear voice and the space to be seen.

I want to hear individual voices, while not loosing the craft or the thread or the big picture.

I want to be transparent, while allowing for differing opinions, different themes, and different experiences.

I want two more months. But I must make do with two weeks.


Artist Interview: Kegan Marling
Mar 10th, 2011





Mid Way
Feb 12th, 2011

I feel half gay.

Not sexually that is… I’m not bisexual or sexually confused. I’m clearly hot for men. I just feel culturally half gay. Like somehow I’ve inherited or learned only a part of the culture, but not actually enough to pass a thorough inspection. If I was to try to board a plane to return to Gay Land, customs would have a field day before letting me pass through.

Of course, I don’t really feel half straight either. It’s more like 50% gay and 50% prude. Is it strange that I think gay people aren’t generally prudish? Cause it’s the prude in me that feels a bit alien. Like it doesn’t know how to communicate with the homo half, so it just sits back and finds things to repress. Like my freedom from responsibility. Or my freedom from cultural assumptions, such as the assumption that sex is connected to relationship.

So maybe when it comes down to it, I’m just a bit sexist. Which is probably something I learned from the gay community.

I’m looking back a bit on my process for this piece, and I’m realizing that I’ve made a mistake.

It’s frustrating to have made a decision early in the process, and to now realize it was a choice made out of fear. It means moving the work in a direction that I don’t think I want it to go, but at this point the alternative direction would be disastrous… and frankly probably wouldn’t get me where I could have gone anyhow.

But I guess this is a reminder that life is just that way. There are plenty of great choices to be made, and there are plenty of times choice is born out of fear – fear of just making a choice, fear of choosing something that seems difficult or taboo, fear of making a choice that will give you exactly what you want.


1/4 mark
Jan 3rd, 2011

When I think about my understanding of what it meant to be gay when I was 16, a handful of images come to mind.

  • Walking down Stockton Avenue and trying to sneak a quick look into the old Renegades Bar when the door would swing open. I could never really see in, but stories unfolded in my head around the mystery of that worn-down pub with painted over windows and rough-edged leather bears occasionally outside inhaling a smoke.
  • Quirky wall hangings honoring/celebrating/mourning//berating dead gays. Loads of them all over the San Jose Convention Center. People everywhere just staring and reading pieces of quilt. Myself included, though I mostly just searched for interesting images.
  • Ads at the back of the Metro. Back then there were still M4M ads with strange code words and the often semi-explicit request for sexual adventure. Everyone seemed to be anonymous straight acting men ISO fun and adventure – 7″ minimum.
  • My sister at the Billy De Frank Center, I think meeting with counselors. I would sit in the lobby and wait, looking through magazines and staring at the wall. Most of the posters on the wall dealt with AIDS, many were in spanish (SIDA). Complete with pool table, the place felt like a cross between a rec center for runaway kids and an old folks home.
  • And then there was Cafe Leviticus on the corner of Alameda and Hester. It was a Bohemian hipster joint before hipsters existed. Even though it was a popular place for my friends to hang out, I only went a handful of times because I was too nervous around that crowd. Obligatory video:

At the time I didn’t know that I was gay. I was just stockpiling information on what it meant to be gay for future reference.

So a month has now passed and with the holidays comes a great amount of change as far the the piece is concerned. I got the call from Stephen and suddenly it went from a trio to a duet. I have to say that I’m definitely saddened by the change in plan, as Stephen had been in many ways a major influence in the initial formation of the idea for the piece. Especially his perspective of queer life in the 1990’s. But the process of exploring this as a duet with Mica & I has excited me, and now with James on board we’re back to a trio. Maybe by the end of the week we’ll be up to a quartet!

I’ve picked out some preliminary costume pieces to bring into rehearsal this month – It’s a struggle to find an adequate sense of image that works for the piece. Tomorrow Mica & I are back in the studio working some of the new text that Mica has been creating – it’s really beautiful language. It’s ghastly and intense and very clear in it’s honest plea – I don’t have a sense of how it supports the work so I need to really keep a critical eye on it, but we’ll play tomorrow.

It’s the start of the uphill crawl to the halfway mark. Onward.


Dec 5th, 2010

When I was seven, I wanted to be a superhero.

By the time I was 14, I had moved on to Broadway Star or Professional Nerd, but I still created stories of myself as a superhero as I walked home from school. The stories shifted, but in the end I always saved the day through some daring strategery. These narratives were never particularly violent – even though I was a superhero, I wasn’t so delusional to think that somehow I would suddenly become buff or know crazy fighting skills. Instead, I had geometry and physics as my weapons of mass destruction. In my head I created complex Rube Goldberg-like scenarios using streetlights, fire hydrants, overhead wires and passing cars.

And now I’m 33 and what I really want to be is a stay-at-home dad.

Yesterday was my first official rehearsal during my residency at CounterPULSE. I spent half of it chatting with Andrew about some thoughts on the seating, and the rest of the time was spent with my headphones on as I just bounced around the space and felt things out  I just didn’t want to try to work on any particular aspect of the piece – and it felt good to just move.

Today is filled with logistics. Finalizing some scheduling, figuring out concepts for the photo shoot, laying out some of the sections, working on text, thinking about if video feels relevant and necessary, or just excess, listening to music, thinking about costumes and spectacle, worrying about resources, looking at different types of paper for the booklets, accepting, moving on.