Wild Night, Wild Crowd, Wild Plays At “BRIEFS,” 5th Annual

briefs-logoYou won’t find a more diverse audience or more diverse entertainment than at the “Briefs Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays.” This is the 5th annual presentation co-hosted by Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, and Darin Slyman, CEO of Vital Voice. Although it only lasts the one week-end, it’s worth a shout out and congratulations to of wonderful group of playwrights, directors and actors who explore LGBTQ themes through a series of short plays or vignettes that delight a very vocal crowd.

“Baby Black Jesus” opens the night- written by Vincent Terrell Durham and directed by Jacqueline Thompson. Carl Overly and Darian Michael Garey explore the age old question of coming out to the parents. “When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives A Bird The Bird” features five stellar actresses exploring a Victorian world of unexpected pleasures. It features Donna Weinsting, Nicole Angeli, Laura Singleton, Rachel Tibbets and Maggie Wininger bringing the James Still script to life under the direction of Pamela Reckamp.

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Ken Haller (with mic) presents the Ken Haller Playwriting Competition For LGBTQ and Allied Youth Award as Darin Slyman and Joan Lipkin look on.

Ken Haller, local pediatrician, actor, performer and all-around nice guy presented a new award named after him to a young playwright, Max Friedman and then Max’s play, “The Grind” was performed as directed by Gad Gutterman. Jared Campbell and Kai Klose explore the differences between a one-night stand and a real relationship. Then Scott C. Sickles presented his play, “I Knew It,” directed by Matthew R. Kerns. A lesson in comedic acting and timing by Lavonne Byers leads the way and she guides Shannon Nara in the way to get around a cheating husband- no matter how often it happens.

“When Oprah Says Goodbye” is a touching play by Dan Berkowitz and directed by Fannie Belle-Lebby. Thomasina Clarke, Peggy Calvin and Sarah McKenney show us the power of love and friendship rekindled. Written by Charles Zito and directed by Christopher Limber, “Runaway” shows us how family sticks together as the fear of rejection is quickly assuaged. It features Rich Scharf, Jenny Smith and Pierce Hastings.

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Kim Furlow and Emily Baker during rehearsal for Stephen Peirick’s “A Comfortable Fit” at the Briefs Festival.

The young, talented Stephen Peirick wrote and directed “A Comfortable Fit.” A mother-daughter shopping trip turns into a lesson in love and respect as they bond over shoes and lifestyles with Kim Furlow, Emily Baker and Casey Boland. Wrapping up the evening is “The Adventures Of…” written by Kathleen Warnock and directed by Ryan Scott Foizey. An old, cheesy TV serial allows a young girl discover herself- and it’s not what the audience may have expected in this nice, twisty closing line. Sarah Porter, Brian Claussen and Todd Schaefer star in this zany comedy.

A delightful evening for a good cause brings out the best in local and national artists and brings a diverse crowd together in a common cause. Everyone had a good time and I met some new friends (one I literally bumped into) and met up with old friends as well. Be sure to look out for this event when it comes up next year. It’s well worth the trip.

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