Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays Returns To St. Louis In April

By Richard Green
In Culture

Next weekend is shaping up to be a landmark weekend for gay theater: Pearl Vodka presents “Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays,” will be taking place April 8-10, 2016 at the Centene Center, just north of SLU.

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“The Grind” with Jared Campbell (left) and Kai Klose (right), rehearsal photo by Max Friedman

The weekend brings us eight short plays, featuring some of the best performers in town …

“The Grind,” by Max Friedman, will show what happens when a dating app introduces “Mr. Right” to “Mr. Right Now.”  And despite what you’re thinking, the ending is both realistic and hopeful.  (Mr. Friedman won the Ken Haller Playwriting Competition for this thoughtful little comedy.)

There are three great Lesbian playlets, one centering on a wistful, bygone childhood memory, “The Adventures Of…” by Kathleen Warnock, where a young woman remembers (and romantically re-invents) scenes from an after-school TV show with a girlfriend (though there’s a funny gay element too).

Another is an all-girl play (by James Still), set in an Antebellum ladies’ book club, where actress Laura Singleton plays a scorned lover, reinventing the art of literary romance, in the face of Southern propriety: “When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives A Bird the Bird” is poetic and bittersweet.

“When Oprah Says Goodbye” takes place in a nursing home, where a long-term resident is suddenly confronted with the woman who stole her woman. The author is Dan Berkowitz, and the comedy is tart, with lots of poignant memories.

“Black Baby Jesus” features sharp dialog, and well-honed humor, as two African-American gays face a turning point, getting ready for a traditional family Christmas. One is not out to his mother, the hostess of the evening, and hasn’t  been out for the preceding two holiday seasons either, despite the presence of his “best friend” each Christmas.  Vincent Durham wrote this little gem.

“A Comfortable Fit” is by local playwright Stephen Peirick, and (though you might be startled) it features a respected actress playing a transgendered dad, shopping for women’s shoes with her daughter. Kim Furlow is that dad, alongside the splendid Emily Baker.  Casey Boland is the handsome shoe salesman caught in the middle in a very fine story of adapting to life in the 21st Century.

“Runaway” is loud and hilarious, with an outraged mom in New York screaming at her gay son. But the mood shifts when her gay brother is thrown into the spotlight, for harboring the teenaged runaway. Charles Zito is the author.

And “I Knew It” features the great Lavonne Byers as a British rock-star’s wife, spitting nails after another rocker’s wife (Shannon Nara) comes out of the wrong hotel bedroom.  It’s British outrage at its best, by award-winning General Hospital writer Scott C. Sickles.

 "A Comfortable Fit" with Kim Furlow (left), Casey Boland (middle), and Emily Baker (right), rehearsal photo by Stephen Peirick

“A Comfortable Fit” with Kim Furlow (left), Casey Boland (middle), and Emily Baker (right), rehearsal photo by Stephen Peirick

General admission tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door; VIP tickets are $50 in advance and $75 at the door. However, if you’re looking for an even more enhanced experience, you can choose from one of two brunch package options. For more information and tickets, visit That Uppity Theatre Company.

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