Rattlestick Theater Festival to Commemorate Stonewall Anniversary
This summer, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater will join many other New York City cultural institutions in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which brought the fight for gay rights into public view in 1969. From June 20-24, the theater will present Pride Plays, a festival of readings that celebrate L.G.B.T.Q. voices, produced by Doug Nevin and the actor Michael Urie.
The festival will include plays in the queer theater canon alongside works from a new generation of artists. The lineup, which Mr. Nevin and Mr. Urie say is not yet complete, includes classics like William Hoffman’s “As Is,” Chay Yew’s “A Language of Their Own” and Jane Chambers’s “Last Summer at Bluefish Cove.” But the producers also plan to highlight work from emerging playwrights like MJ Kaufman and Daaimah Mubashshir, whose play “Room Enough (For Us All)” explores gay life and cultural identity for a young Muslim woman.
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To ensure that the selection of playwrights and plays reflected diverse voices, the organizers put together an advisory committee that includes the playwrights Moisés Kaufman, Lucy Thurber and Mr. Yew, who the producers say have encouraged them to listen to new voices.
“If you look back at all history it’s generally been written by white men, and so much of the theater has been predominantly that,” Mr. Urie said. “We really wanted, as we look forward, to find plays that accurately represented the community, which is so vast.”
“For so long queer stories were about how if you come out, something bad happens to you. Or if you’re gay, you’ll be beaten or institutionalized or you’ll end up killing yourself,” Mr. Urie said. “While that is all absolutely a part of the history, we want to look forward to the hopeful times ahead of us, where queer characters will be embraced and celebrated for who they are.”