Birimisa, George 1924-
BIRIMISA, George 1924-
PERSONAL: Born February 21, 1924, in Santa Cruz, CA; son of Charles and Anna (Gjurovich) Birimisa; married Nancy Linden, 1952 (divorced, 1961). Education: Attended New School for Social Research; studied with Uta Hagen at Herbert Berghof Studios, New York, NY, 1965-66.
CAREER: Actor, director, and playwright. Worked in a factory, as a disc jockey, health studio manager, clerk, bartender, bellhop, page for National Broadcasting Co., and in sales; Howard Johnson's, New York, NY, counter person, 1952-56; Laurie Girls, New York, NY, typist, 1969-70; Theatre of All Nations, New York, NY, artistic director, 1974-76; full-time writer, 1966—. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, 1942-43.
AWARDS, HONORS: Rockefeller grant, 1969; award from DramaLogue, 1978, for A Rainbow in the Night.
Degrees, produced in New York, NY, 1966.
17 Loves and 17 Kisses, produced in New York, NY, 1966.
Daddy Violet, produced in New York, NY, 1967.
How Come You Don't Dig Chicks?, produced in New York, NY, 1967.
Mister Jello (two-act), produced in New York, NY, 1968, revised version produced in New York, NY, 1974.
Georgie Porgie, produced in New York, NY, 1968.
Adrian, produced in New York, NY, 1974.
Will the Real Yoganga Please Stand Up?, produced in New York, NY, 1974.
A Dress Made of Diamonds, produced in Los Angeles, CA, 1976.
Pogey Bait!, produced in Los Angeles, CA, 1976, produced in New York, NY, 1977.
A Rainbow in the Night, produced in Los Angeles, CA, 1978.
A Rose and a Baby Ruth, produced in San Francisco, CA, 1981.
The Man with Straight Hair, produced in San Francisco, CA, 1993.
Looking for Mr. America, produced in San Francisco, CA, 1994, produced in New York, NY, 1995.
(And director) Looking for Mr. America: A Portrait of George Birimisa (videotape), Harvey Milk Institute, 2003.
Work appears in anthologies, including More Plays from Off-Off-Broadway, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1972. Contributor to Drummer, Alternate, Prism International, and other periodicals.
A collection of Birimisa's manuscripts is housed at Joe Cino Memorial Library, Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts, New York, NY.
SIDELIGHTS: According to Michael T. Smith in Contemporary Dramatists, George Birimisa "is a fiercely moral writer; his plays are filled with compassionate rage against needless suffering, furious impatience with the human condition, desperately frustrated idealism. He links the pain of human isolation to economic and social roots."
Birimisa's most popular play, Georgie Porgie, for example, contains nine scenes dealing with homosexual encounters, each scene interspersed with choral quotations from communist Friedrich Engels. "The contrast," wrote Smith, "between Engels' idealistic vision of human liberty and Birimisa's variously stupid, contemptible, pitiful, self-despising characters, all imprisoned in their own compulsions, is powerful and painful." According to a critic for Variety, the play is an advance in its field, and "unlike many of its stage predecessors, . . . Birimisa's play minces few images or words in describing the plight of its characters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Dramatists, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1993.
New York Times, August 11, 1971.
Variety, September 1, 1971.
Village Voice, September 4, 1969.