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  • Writer's pictureBen Kemper

Qfest: a queer theater festival mini review

Or: The odd, the peculiar and the probeing.

I hope to live in a world where all sorts of love can be batted about both in public discourse without careful internal edits or a rigorous exclusion of pronouns or the fear of some outside force doing something stupid and cruel. As a foppish but wise lady said not too long ago, “The heart wants what the heart wants and that is the end of the matter.” The sooner this truth is acknowledged: in law, in common culture and in countless homes, the better it will be for everyone. Until that world dawns around us we’ll have to make do with Qfest, a festival comprised of three student written/devised/improvised plays listed as follows

Caped by Michelle Margulis

In a world where caped crusaders of all sorts wander the streets fighting crime and protecting the innocent, one up and coming journalist (Benowitz) crosses paths, and catches the eye, of an up and coming “cape” called Owl (Sheilds). The rules of Margulis are unclear (is this like “The Incredibles” or “The Adventures of Bicycle Repairman”) and there is lack of urgency in her story, and of specificity in her lines (How dastardly are the villains? What is it exactly that Samantha sees in Owl?). There are glimmers of gold that just need to be mined a little further. And it is a joy to see Benowitz and Sheilds tease and critique and warm to each other.


Not much to be said here. Just two talented Improvists, Egleston and Scannell, playing the craft on a numerous topics. Their inventive and delightful, use the space to its fullest effect and can make their scenes as spiny and tragic as hilarious and goofy. They’re really good. ‘Nuff Said.

Young Hearts Be Free Tonight By Rachel Birnbaum

Be prepared for a beat change. Young Hearts is a probing piece, complied from Found Craigslist adds and Poetry by the author, tales of love and loss for men to men, women to women and men to women. There’s lots of water, some video projections, most not crucial but not overly distracting either, and some really weird interaction involving hotdogs. The transition “slow-walks” across the stage take waaaaaaaaay to long, but that is the only adverse piece of staging that I can find. And the poems themselves are honestly written and deftly read, Sullivan-Knoff and Gertzman standing out for a cast of worthies, in their loving care of the words and showcasing of the buried emotional struggle underneath. Gertzman’s conversation with the wind is worth the whole evening.

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