That Uppity Theatre Company, St Lou Fringe Festival,
Missing Bolts Productions Inc., NoPassport Theatre Alliance
Monday, November 14th, 2016; Kranzberg Arts Center
Excerpts from a collection of three minute plays specifically written and curated in response to the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, that took the lives of 49 LGBTQ and Allied people.
Titled “After Orlando,” the event is an international playwright-‐driven theatre action including playwrights from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Africa. Throughout the fall, “After Orlando” is being read across the country and in the UK at over 75 venues. The St. Louis version will include an interactive panel discussion with regional community leaders. This performance is free to attend, but we strongly suggest reservations as space is limited. Attendees can reserve their tickets using Eventbrite here.
A number of St. Louis area directors participated in this one night-only event including Merlin Bell, Edward Coffield, Adam Flores, Matthew Kerns, Fanny Lebby, Joan Lipkin, Lee Anne Mathews, Jacqueline Thompson, and Jackie Chambers.
In recognition of the impact of important events on the lives of fellow St. Louisans, “After Orlando” will be followed by an interactive panel discussion with community leaders. Participants include representatives from the Diversity Awareness Partnership, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Metropolitan Community Church, Central Reform Congregation, St. Stanislaus, and well-known drag personality Michael Shreves (Michelle McCausland).
Missing Bolts artistic directors Blair Baker and Zac Kline note, “As theatre makers, we have the ability to bring together many singular unique voices toward a common goal. We have invited some of the most admired theatre artists worldwide to participate; to share our grief, our anger, our hope, and our desire to combat the violence we are now living with on a daily basis.” NoPassport founder Caridad Svich adds, “We are making some healing art, some fiery art, some work that just says we can rise up from and through collective mourning.”
“It's encouraging how universities, colleges, as well as theatre companies have responded to this tragedy as an occasion to creatively raise questions about transphobia, homophobia, and the oppression of people of color as well as gun control through the compelling medium of theatre," said Joan Lipkin, Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company. "There's something urgent and necessary about reading and staging these plays and that may be why there has been such response internationally to the material. To perform is to enter the experience of the other. It is a crucial gateway to empathy and one more way to encourage appreciation of diversity," she said. Lipkin was also asked to contribute a play which has since been performed at multiple locations including this week at Barnard College and Columbia University in New York.
“The Orlando shootings frightened me at my core. I was shocked. I wanted to do something to help my community," said St Lou Fringe Executive Director Matthew Kerns. “These plays matched with the panel discussion are our way of recommitting to the people of St. Louis. Our way of expressing that we are a haven of love, equality, diversity, and safety for all people at all times.”