2014 Left Out Festival
This annual festival features the work of LGBTQ artists and benefits Bailey House, which provides housing and support to people living with HIV and AIDS. This year’s festival features award-winning playwrights and performers, with a special focus on transgender issues. Ms. King, artistic director, says, “I’m delighted that this year we have plays from all five of the letters in LGBTQ. We have performances featuring gay experience, lesbians trying to get green cards, queer identity in teens, T-gurls in NYC, gay questions and bigotry in Shakespeare, gay identity in classic literature, marriage equality, and both male-to-female and female-to-male transgender issues. It’s a rich soup and a stellar group of talented playwrights and performers.” In the 7 years since the Left Out Festival began, Stage Left has donated nearly $10,000 to Bailey House and produced over 200 plays and solo shows by LGBTQ artists.
Friday, April 18th @ 7:30 and Wednesday, April 23rd @ 7:30 - Selected Short Subjects
The evening’s performance opens with Yesterday was Dramatic, written by Alex Beck, the director of William LoCasto’s brilliant NY/XY in the 2009 Left Out Festival. Cassandra Sandberg directs this premiere of the play, performed by Mr. Beck, who plays Charlie, a casually neurotic New Yorker. We are allowed entry into the mind of Charlie, who speaks his stream of consciousness aloud on three subway rides to and from dates with the same boy. Moments of clarity punctuate the serio-comic storytelling, and Charlie finds himself stronger by processing the events of yesterday’s drama. Today is going to be OK!
Old Man In Sorrow, the second show on the bill, is written by William LoCasto, a perennial favorite playwright in the Left Out Festival. Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of the same name, it is performed by Desmond Dutcher and KC Weakley. In this beautifully distilled study of a relationship, Gregory and Jeff, a gay couple, are about to embark on a journey to visit Gregory's dying father, during which Gregory’s long-standing resentments towards his father rise to the surface.
Rounding out the evening is Sherilyn Fenn at the Hamburger Hamlet, a 25-minute play written and performed by award-winning playwright and actor Joe Hutcheson, and directed by Cheryl King. After moving to Los Angeles to pursue his career goal to work at a better restaurant, Joe finds himself face to face with the Hollywood starlet of his dreams. In this one-man show, his fourth to appear in the Left Out Festival, Hutcheson explores themes of hope and disillusionment while trying not to forget the mustard.
Running time – 60 minutes
Wednesday, April 16th at 7:30 pm and Saturday, April 19th at 7:30 pm - NSA
In Manuel Igrejas’ new play, NSA, Monty and Luis have had a happy romantic partnership for ten years. Their only issue seems to be whether or not to get married. A chance encounter with Stefan, a sexy, mysterious waiter, disrupts their cozy lives: both Monty and Luis have a secret connection to him. Monty comes from a happy Italian family; Luis was raised over a bar by his shady Grandma. Stefan has trouble pinning down exactly where he came from, though parts of his past are on display all over the internet. The three men’s lives intertwine in a number of surprising, romantic and potentially devastating ways. The cast features Casey Burden as Monty, Afrim Gjonbalaj as Luis and Kevin Perez as Stefan.
Running time – 90 minutes
Saturday, April 19 at 2:00 pm - Death in Venice in First Person
Death in Venice in First Person is written and performed by Rory Lance, and directed by Robert Ellman. This theatrical presentation of the classic tale by Thomas Mann won Best Period Piece at the 2012 United Solo Theatre Festival. Join Aschenbach on his summer holiday and watch as his brief vacation quickly becomes a journey of self-discovery and an exploration of the very depths of loneliness and obsession. Of the 2012 performance, Troupe Theatre Blog writes, “The play’s success hinges on the duality of the incredibly detailed inner monologue spoken aloud and the moments of silence in which Lance’s physicality drives the narrative. The ease in which Lance slinks back and forth between protagonist and supporting characters is both charming and endearing.”
Running time – 80 minutes
Saturday, April 26 at 1:30 pm and Sunday, April 27 at 7:30 pm - A Kiss in the Dream House
A Kiss in the Dream House (abridged version), written by Ashley Lauren Rogers, performed by Keeko Nakidai and RG Belle
A Kiss in the Dream House, written by Ashley Lauren Rogers, an outspoken transwoman, is the world premiere of this five-act play. It’s the story of a Vietnamese engagement ceremony in crisis because of one partner's transition. This poignant and funny story, performed by Keeko Nakidai and RG Belle, intimately explores young romance and the transitions we all make falling in love.
Running time – 60 minutes
Tuesday, April 15 and Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 pm - No River Between Us (a staged reading)
No River Between Us is a staged reading of a new play written by Michelle Ramoni, and directed by Kate Holland, featuring Jeffrey Coyne, Cheryl King, Maria Payramaure, Shawn McLaughlin, Jessica Solce and Renee Erikson-Wong. It’s a story about true love, and the restrictions on freedom imposed by restrictive immigration law and the state’s refusal to sanction same-sex marriage. Ariana is an illegal immigrant, Shannon is her lover, and Steve is their gay best friend. In a scenario all too common in the US, Steve and Ariana marry, so that she can get a green card and stay with Shannon. After a dicey INS interview, Steve’s redoubtable mother pays them a visit, and the sparks fly. Will true love find a way? Or will the forces of repression allow the “river between them” to grow into an ocean?
Running time – 60 minutes
Tuesday, April 22 and Friday, April 25 at 7:30 pm - The Pink Unicorn
The Pink Unicorn, written and performed by Elise Forier Edie
Based on real events, "The Pink Unicorn" is an award-winning solo theatre piece. It tells the story of a Trisha Lee, a Christian widow, living in a small, conservative Texas town, whose life is thrown into turmoil when her teen-aged daughter announces she is "gender queer" and starting a chapter of the Gay and Straight Alliance at the local high school. When violence erupts in her community, Trisha must reluctantly embark on a journey from ignorance to advocacy, trying to make sense of what is right and what is safe for her daughter, with persecution and prejudice closing in on all sides. www.eliseforieredie.com
Running time – 90 minutes
Monday, April 21 at 7:30 pm - The T-Party
T-Party - Cheryl King presents the results of her ongoing workshops with Bailey House transgender clients. It’s a riotous combination of audio and video clips, with live commentary by Ms. King, an in-depth conversation with the “T” part of the Left Out Festival’s featured demographic – LGBTQ citizens of our fine city. Ashley Lauren Rogers, playwright, joins Cheryl for a discussion of topics such as Laverne Cox's recent award from GLAAD, laws about identity, what kind of men make the best mates, fantasies and fetishes, and the hopes and dreams of T-gurls in NYC in 2014.
Running time – 60 minutes, plus reception.
Thursday, April 17 and Monday, April 28 at 7:30 pm - Antonio and Shylock: Monsters (a workshop production)
Antonio and Shylock: Monsters A work in progress based on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice by Dikran Tulaine, this exploration of hatred of the “other” explores anti-Jewish and anti-gay bigotry. Was Antonio gay? Scholars differ on this important issue, but it’s clear that his love for Bassanio was so profound that he was willing to sign a bond to Shylock for a “pound of flesh”. Two live video feeds add a touch of contemporary “media feeding frenzy” to the making of the deal and the trial. Directed by Dikran Tulaine, this one-hour adaptation features Mr. Tulaine as Shylock, KC Weakley as Antonio, plus Liam Bobersky, TC Corwin, Cheryl King, and Karen Sklaire as other dramatis personae. Karin Kearns and Cheryl King are the videographers. A brief audience conversation with the cast is planned after the performance.
Running time – 60 minutes.
All performances are at Stage Left Studio, 214 West 30th Street, 6th floor, NYC. Convenient to the A,C,E,B,D,F,N,R,1,2 and 3 lines. www.stageleftstudio.net
Tickets $22 (includes $2 ticketing surcharge) and $25 at the door. Discount codes STUDENT and SENIOR get $5 off (ID required at box office)
TheatreScene.net is promoting the Left Out Festival on their site. http://www.theaterscene.net/ts/ea.nsf/By+Category/1D967F2FA5E0193385257CAC0031109F