If you’re tired of seeing cis performances, reading cis thinkpieces and doing things that generally rely on binary gender constructs, then drag yourself over to New York’s second ever trans theatre festival, courtesy of The Brick Theater in Williamsburg. Tucked unassumingly behind a red door at 579 Metropolitan Ave., the Brick is a burgeoning theatre venue known for its support of underground artistry. They regularly host “niche” theater festivals about sex, clowns and comic books, but the trans theater festival marks a step toward a more sobering issue facing New York’s theater community today— namely, the lack of trans artists and trans stories onstage. Despite the critical success of shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black, the American theater still suffers a dearth of opportunity in the industry for trans artists. Last year, The Public Theater even cast cisgender actors in transgender roles for its play Southern Comfort.
Needless to say, it’s high time for creative response. The Brick’s festival kicks off next week beginning Monday, July 17 with a cabaret-style preview of the shows. The festival lineup, which runs through Sunday, July 29, includes works of theater and dance as well as celebrations of resistance and the trans community, workshops and comedy. You can look forward to plays about early 90s lesbian punk culture, memes, the “unyielding nature of Chicago”, underground Victorian-era medical facilities … and, of course, identity crises. It’s all trans and no boundaries.
There aren’t conservatives railing against intersex genderqueer casting calls quite yet, but that’s because they’re just waiting for a 16-Tony trans Broadway hit to sink their teeth into. Go out and support the Brick’s Trans Theater Festival next week, and you might just give them something to cry about.