National Queer Theater's 6th Annual CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL Set for June

The festival will feature three plays performed in repertory.

By: Mar. 01, 2024
National Queer Theater's 6th Annual CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL Set for June
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Perelman Performance Arts Center will present Natonal Queer Theater’s sixth annual Criminal Queerness Fesval June 21 - 29, 2024.

This annual theatrical event, the official theater partner of NYC Pride, showcases plays by international LGBTQ+ playwrights facing censorship & criminalization in their countries of origin.

The festival will feature three plays performed in repertory: Raphaël Amahl Khouri’s She He Me, Achiro P. Olwoch’s The Survival, and Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko’s Waafrika 123 A Queerly Scripted Tragic Rise To African Fantasia. The 2024 festival celebrates groundbreaking plays from the first five years of the festival, including those that didn’t get a production because of the COVID-19 shut down.

SHE HE ME: June 21 at 8pm, June 22 at 2pm, June 23 at 8pm

Written and directed by Raphaël Amahl Khouri

She He Me is the first Arab transgender play. It follows the true stories of three Arab characters who challenge gender norms. Randa is an Algerian trans woman who is expelled under the threat of death from her homeland because of her LGBT activism there. Omar is a Jordanian non-binary person, who, rather than body dysphoria, suffers social dysphoria when it comes to the strict codes of masculinity imposed and expected of them by both the heterosexual and gay community around them. Rok is a Lebanese trans man. His main challenge is convincing his very conservative religious mother that her daughter is actually a boy. Through humor and horror, the three characters come up against the state, society, and family, but also themselves.

“I have been a fan of National Queer Theater’s impactful work through this festival for the past five years. It is especially meaningful for us at PAC NYC to host the Criminal Queerness Festival, given our location at the World Trade Center and our mission to create connections across the world as well as across our city,” says Bill Rauch, PAC NYC Artistic Director.

Originally developed for the 2020 Criminal Queerness Festival with Dixon Place.

THE SURVIVAL: June 22 at 8pm, June 23 at 3pm, June 27 at 7pm

Written by Achiro P. Olwoch Directed by Nadia Guevara

Achan, feeling pressure from her mother for not yet being married at 27, falls for Oyat after meeting him at a bar. Unbeknownst to Achan, Oyat is hoping she will be a surrogate for him and his boyfriend’s child. When Achan learns the truth from Oyat’s boyfriend, John, she must confront her own traditional upbringing to find love and new notions of family in modern Uganda. The Survival is a story of survival.

Originally developed at the 2022 Criminal Queerness Festival at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

WAAFRIKA 123: A QUEERLY SCRIPTED TRAGIC RISE TO AFRICAN FANTASIA: June 26 at 7pm, June 28 at 8pm, June 29 at 2pm

Written by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko Directed by é Boylan

On the eve of the country’s first democratic elections, everyone is brewing with expression, even in the tiny, rural, fictional village, Luoland, with no electricity or running water some 250 kilometers northwest of Nairobi. There, although queer lesbians ‘don’t exist’ in Kenya, two queers fall in love: Bobby, an American development worker and Awino from the Luo tribe. To complicate matters, Awino’s father is also the Chief who enforces traditions and codes. So when famine strikes, the villagers blame the queers for the many, many deaths by starvation. To regain equilibrium, to make everything “normal” once again, Awino – non-binary queer (pre- op, no T) trans – must be “circumcised” – by force – so “s/he” can act like a real village woman rather than a woman “who wants to be” a man, and Bobby must leave. Will Awino and Bobby agree to separate for the good of their community? Or will the village itself change?

Originally developed at the 2019 Criminal Queerness Festival at IRT Theater.