Alumni, Faculty, Student Work Showcased at BRIEFS Festival of LGBTQ Plays April 8-10
Mar. 25, 2016
The work of Webster University alumni, students, and professors will be on extensive display at the 5th annual BRIEFS: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays the weekend of April 8-10 at the Centene Center for Arts and Education in the Rialto Ballroom at Grand Center.
Co-produced by That Uppity Theatre Company and Vital Voice, BRIEFS is a unique showcase in St. Louis that brings together numerous directors and theatrical artists to showcase the work of eight different playwrights all under one roof. BRIEFS presents theatrical work that address the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning people. The festival is targeted to a diverse and mature audience that appreciates good theatre in unique settings.
Growing Involvement of Webster Alumni, Faculty & Students
Founded by Distinguished Webster Alumna Award recipient Joan Lipkin ’75, this year’s festival features the work of several Webster community members. Gad Guterman, assistant professor in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts, directs The Grind by Webster Conservatory student Max Friedman ’17, featuring Webster Conservatory students Jared Campbell ’17 and Kai Klose ’17. The festival also includes Webster Conservatory student Quinn Erb ’18 who will be working as one of the assistant stage managers.
Friedman’s play was created through a Webster playwriting class taught by Webster professor Michael Erickson. “Michael Erickson was the one who actually pointed me in the direction of the BRIEFS Festival and encouraged me to apply," said Friedman. "The play is about whether or not dating apps are actually helping us form human connections that can last past a few messages and perhaps a first date.”
Guterman also served on the reading committee for the festival and worked as a dramaturg for Friedman’s play and other plays selected for the festival. “I am delighted by Webster’s involvement,” said Lipkin. “Gad’s understanding of theatrical texts is exemplary and has been so helpful in my own work. It is also wonderful to have such talent available from theatre students at Webster. The quality of their work is very high, as evidenced by their training. We appreciate being able to give them opportunities to contribute to other cultural events in the community where they may also be exposed to more directors, actors, and playwrights.”
The fifth year of the festival will celebrate the second annual Ken Haller Playwriting Competition for LGBTQ and Allied Youth, competition launched by Lipkin. The competition is named after pediatrician, performer, and longtime LGBTQ activist Ken Haller. The Haller competition provides the winning playwright with a cash prize of $250 and their play is staged at the BRIEFS festival. On opening night, Friday, April 8, That Uppity Theatre Company will offer a post-show reception to honor Haller and recognize the Haller Award recipient Max Friedman for his play, as well as celebrate BRIEFS as one of the only festivals of short LGBTQ plays in the nation.
- Friday, April 8, 2016 – 8 p.m., post-show reception for the Ken Haller Award
- Saturday, April 9, 2016 – 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Sunday, April 10, 2016 – 2 p.m., Barefoot Bubbly Brunch from noon-1 p.m.
Each of the eight plays run about 10 minutes or less and include a variety of comedic and serious themes and genres. This year’s collection of eight plays has been selected from over 250 submissions across the nation and includes such themes as the impact of the closet in the African-American gay community, the role of fantasy and science fiction in sexual identity formation, the challenges of LGBTQ residence in nursing homes and many more.
The playwrights include three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and five-time Emmy nominee James Still. Still’s When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives A Bird the Bird is the story about a thinly-coded women’s literary club set in 1859, and is a finalist for a Heidemann Award. Award-winning General Hospital writer Scott C. Sickles, will have the world premiere of his play I Knew It, inspired by a rumored relationship between Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Emerging playwright Stephen Peirick will direct his play titled A Comfortable Fit, about a shopping excursion between a transgender mother and daughter.
Submitted by Jared Campbell, Conservatory of Theatre Arts student