- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer
Eight original short plays featured at the 3rd annual Brown & Out Festival reflect the Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality for same-sex couples legal in California.
Instead of angst from the inability to wed, a couple of the eight new plays featured at the festival looked complications coming from marriage, — a refreshing change.
The eight performances, which opened Oct. 11, are playing at Casa 101 Theater in BoyleHeights.
LGBTQ, written by Arriola and Uvaldo Baltazar is directed by Martin Morales; Sunday Brunch, written by Rosa Maria Rodriguez, also is directed Morales; Whittier Blvd (CQ), written by Michael Patrick Spillers, is again directed by Morales; Los Novios, written by Jaime Mayorquin, is directed by Nina Harada; Prom, written by Monica Palacios, also is directed by Harada, Safe, written by Miguel Garcia, also is directed by Harada; Happy and Gay, written by Mary Steelsmith, is directed by Morales; and Crazy, written by Natalia Camunas, is directed by Harada. They run from the predictable (LGBTQ is a mildly funny Star Trek parody) to the deeply moving (and musical) Whittier Blvd.
There is a lot of energy behind this show: nine actors take on roles varying from an immortal being to a would-be prom queen. Nine playwrights (as many as actors) have a hand in the productions, which fit into the sparsely decorated but more than adequate stage space.
Some of these plays are about subjects that have long been part of the gay discussion: Sunday Brunch, for instance, is about that gay right of passage, telling a parent just what you are. Prom creates a straw man (the actually frightening MJ Silva) to give the protagonist, Karina Noelle, someone to fight against.
Los Novios is a comedy about a wedding, with a curious and humorous twist, gay marriage and more. Happy and Gay lets two church woman, Miriam Peniche and Monica O’Malley de Castillo, who find love while preparing for a wedding reception.
Best of the eight is Whittier Blvd, where Will (Jose A. Garcia) and Vic (Masha Mendieta) come to an understanding about Vic’s gay lifestyle, while enjoying the music of the Midniters, the first “real’” East Los Angeles band.
The audience on Oct. 12 cheered wildly for ever revelation and gave the actor’s a standing ovation at the end. You may find these plays less exciting than that, but you will appreciate the bright energy that went into them.
Tickets are $20, $15 for students, seniors and veterans, and $12 for BoyleHeights residents. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m. through Nov. 3.