|Photo by Bill Wesen|
|Jay Kistler and Ankur Garg.|
Gadfly Theatre opens a brand-new piece examining the myriad of LGBTQ experiences this weekend at the Lowry Lab Theatre.
Queer has been in the works for several years. Gadfly's Cassandra Snow and Immanuel Elliot crafted the piece from submissions and interviews compiled over the past several years. We chatted with Snow about the evolution of the concept, and what it was like to premiere the piece earlier this month at the National Because Conference, presented by the Bisexual Organizing Project.
City Pages: What kind of evolution has the show gone through?
Cassandra Snow: The show definitely evolved from the original concept. Originally, we just wanted to tell unique, maybe funny experiences showing how there was no one right or wrong vision of "queerness."
We started doing research, and we asked our friends and existing audience and network for submissions and interviews based on a really very vague question or idea. When we got into interviews, especially, it seemed like the number one thing everyone wanted us to know was how oppressed they'd been, and not in the ways people think.
It obviously sucks that we can't marry whoever we want everywhere, that you can still get fired for being queer, and so forth. But there's a more ingrained prejudice that people were seeing reflected, and that quickly became the concept of the show.
CP: What are some of the lesser talked about GLBTQ issues you wanted to explore in the show?
CS: In this show, we were very blessed to find people outside of the LGBT scope to interview or submit. We discuss asexuality, polyamory, sexual fluidity, pansexuality, and genderqueer.
We also talk about being a double minority, explore cultural experiences like being a transman forced through a Mexican Quinceanera, an Indian woman being pushed into a same-sex marriage, and we also cover stories that no one talks about. Being a transwoman and a lesbian, classism, aging in the community, how HIV affects you socially and not just physically, misogny. I could go on and on. We got a lot of great subject matter, and took a little from our own experiences and observations as well.
CP: How did the premiere of the piece go earlier this month?
CS: I was extremely nervous going into the premiere at the Because conference. The Bisexual Organizing Project is really the first major organization to latch on to us and dig what we do to the extent that they have -- plus a lot of people in the audience were subjects!
The premiere was extremely well received, though. I was overwhelmed by the appreciation and support we received through the talk back. In addition to learning a lot of things that are probably boring to non-theater people -- logistics of lighting and whatnot -- the number one thing we learned was to never be afraid to tell the most daring story. When we got into touch-up rehearsals, we started really pushing them to go even further. Be more offensive, more emotional, even funnier, because they'll need those laughs.
CP: What do you hope audiences take away from the show?
CS: I want audiences to walk away feeling inspired to work for change within this community--and to take that positive change towards inclusivity and take it to the larger world.
No one is perfect. We have all said exclusionary or snobby things at some point in our life, and I want everyone to know that we can come out of those experiences without letting them define us or the community we're building. That's the main thing, but I also want them to come out hearing a story they didn't hear, and therefore having a greater understanding of someone's identity -- be it sexual, gender, or cultural.
IF YOU GO:
Friday through July 14
350 Saint Peter St., St. Paul
For tickets and more information, call 1.800.838.3006 or visit online.
350 St. Peter St., St. Paul, MN