New Route Theatre's Voices of Pride Festival of new plays begins this week, with staged readings presented Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Bloomington's First Christian Church at 401 West Jefferson Street. Tickets will be available at the door for a suggested donation of $10. This event is dedicated to the memory of Phil Shaw.
This festival, which consists of four new plays with LGBT themes, is presented in conjunction with the Prairie Pride Coalition. Illinois State University Assistant Professor Duane Boutté curated the program and directs two of them. Here's the schedule of events:
garbage can blues, written by Paula Ressler, Associate Professor in the English Department at Illinois State University. Directed by Duane Boutté.
ReConnect, written by DC Cathro, a playwright from Maryland. Directed by New Route Theatre Artistic Director Don Shandrow.
Thingification, written and performed by Duriel E. Harris, a Creative Writing Associate Professor in the English Department at Illinois State University. Directed by Duane Boutté and assistant directed by Gina Cleveland.
Bedfellows, written by Daniel Kipp, a playwright from Rock Island who is also a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University. Directed by Don Shandrow.
garbage can blues
Peg Kirk and Troy Schaeflein are the cast of Paula Ressler's garbage can blues, described as "the haunting tale of a lesbian mother struggling to come to terms with the circumstances of her son's demise as she questions any role she may have played. Performed in a single act, garbage can blues reads with artful precision. Mrs. Ressler's careful strokes paint a mother-son relationship that delivers enduring questions about society's judgement of non-traditional families, and its affect on modern youth."
Cathro's ReConnect features Nathan Brandon Gaik, Brigette Richard, George Jackson, Joseph Johnson, Samuel James Willis, Daniel Esquivel, Marya Manak, Kelsey Brunner, Rachel Hettrick, Anastasia Ferguson and Graham Gusloff in a "a delightfully poignant series of six short one act plays that center on the reunions of eleven different people and the surprise, pain and awareness that reconnecting brings.
Thingification expands on performance poems by Harris called "Phaneric Displays," and it includes excerpts from other published works from Harris like "Amnesiac: Poems, and Drag." In Thingification, Harris will perform "a progression of vivid characters from southern cotton fields to big city dance clubs, resulting in a compelling discourse on African American identity and empowerment."
Duane Boutté and Dave Krostal are featured in Kipp's Bedfellows, which covers three different moments in the lives of two men, focusing on "their relationship during moments of dynamic political change. They meet on election night of 1992. We then see them just before the election in 2000 and then finally just after the election in 2008. A bittersweet exploration of how time and politics influence a relationship."
New Route Theatre and Artistic Director Don Shandrow have indicated that they hope to make this an annual event to go along with the Black Voices Matter festival presented in February.
For more information regarding New Route Theatre and the Voices of Pride Festival, you are asked to contact Shandrow at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the New Route Facebook page.