“Briefs” theater festival tackles LGBT issues in short plays

| Senior Cadenza Editor

“The more the merrier” should be the unofficial subtitle of That Uppity Theater Company’s new theater festival “Briefs,” which will be premiering in St. Louis this weekend. “Briefs” is a collection of eight short plays that focus on topics important to members of the LGBT community, and the double entendre in the name is a nice touch as well. The plays range in tone and style, and the short play format allows for different perspectives that speak to each other as the festival unfolds.

“I like the format because I think that entire universes can be contained within a 10-minute play,” Joan Lipkin, executive co-producer of the festival, said. “It makes it possible to showcase the work of many people and also provides an opportunity for a number of people’s work to be seen.”

One of the short plays, “Ladies’ Room,” is heavily connected to the Wash. U. community. Performing Arts Department senior lecturer Annamaria Pileggi directed the short show, which centers on a 17-year-old butch lesbian who is misidentified as a man in a mall bathroom. Senior Amanda Spector is the assistant director, and junior Kylie Gregory and sophomore Ariel Saul are in the cast. “Ladies’ Room” represents gender issues in a powerful way, making it a compelling watch for a college audience.

While “Ladies’ Room” is one of the more serious plays, some of them deal with lighter topics.

“[The plays] reflect a real diversity of approach and aesthetic and issues,” Lipkin said.

Lipkin wrote a play titled “The Date,” which follows two older men trying to have a successful date in the age of AIDS. Another play, “Attack of the Dorothies,” which Lipkin directed, can be described as what happens when you combine “The Wizard of Oz,” 1950s values and zombies. “Partners” shows what happens when a lesbian cop brings her male work partner home to meet her female life partner, whereas “Shiny Pair of Complications” focuses on last-minute tux shopping the day before a wedding. Clearly, there is something for everyone at this festival.

Lipkin does not think the festival will just appeal to members of the LGBT community.

“LGBT stories are human stories,” she said. “Anybody who is interested in good theater and interesting stories will enjoy this event.”

The festival will take place at La Perla. Valet parking will be provided, and a DJ will be spinning tunes between plays. Limited tickets will be available at the door, but interested viewers can also purchase tickets on That Uppity Theater Company’s website.