Inis Nua Theatre Company recently announced the launch of Queer Connections Reading Series, featuring three moving stories that focus on life, love and competition.
“Inis Nua’s new Queer Connections Reading Series offers us a chance across the season to immerse our audiences in focused themes we believe to be timely and essential,” said Inis Nua Artistic Director KC MacMillan in a statement. “This year’s Queer Connections theme include stories of queer struggle, yes, but also, importantly, stories of queer joy. We are excited to share in these conversations with our community.”
The series begins with a reading of ‘Love Song to Lavender Menace’ by Scottish playwright James Ley, directed by David Bardeen, and featuring performers Brennen Savon Malone, Max Gallagher, and Kirk Wendell Brown. This touching play centers on the final night of the beloved Edinburgh Lesbian and Gay bookstore, The Lavender Menace, before it closes. Through two soon-to-be-ex employees, the audience will celebrate and examine life in Edinburgh in the stolid 1980’s.
“‘Love Song to Lavender Menace’ is an homage to Edinburgh’s first radical, feminist, and LGBT bookshop on its last night of existence, in 1987,” said Bardeen. “It’s a queer romcom tour de force with books, time travel, and disco. What’s not to love? But for me, it’s about the spaces we as a Queer community feel safe in and how conservative politics, gentrification, and other factors are trying to make those spaces smaller and smaller. Do we lose our identity and sense of community when the spaces we created to feel safe, the bars and clubs, coffee shops and gyms, bathhouses and bookstores and community centers disappear?”
For the reading of ‘Lavender Menace’, Inis Nua will partner with Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room, an LGBTQ-focused bookstore in Philadelphia, the oldest and longest running gay and lesbian bookstore in the U.S., encouraging attendees to shop and donate to Giovanni’s Room.
“As with our season as a whole, the Reading Series gives Philadelphia audiences a chance to examine important local themes from a global perspective,” adds MacMillan. “The plays of Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales frequently speak to universal concerns in intimate, human ways.”
Following ‘Love Song to Lavender Menace’, Inis Nua presents Irish play ‘How to Keep an Alien’ by Sonya Kelly, directed by Charlotte Northeast, and presented on March 13, 2023. Based on the playwright’s own experiences, a woman navigates her heart and immigration services in an effort to find her true calling and bring the love of her life across the border.
Hilariously funny and unsparing, this play examines the barriers of bureaucracy and the arbitrary nature of borders. Although the play takes a lighthearted approach to the subject of “aliens,” immigration and border control are serious issues that have life-altering effects on people’s lives.
Inis Nua will close the season on May 15, 2023 with the third reading, ‘Offside’ by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish, directed by Brett Ashley Robinson. Lyrical and unafraid to play with dramatic form, this play dives into the world of competitive women’s soccer, and just what players must confront to become champions.
Each reading includes post-show discussions with cast, director, and dramaturg. Inis Nua partners with Villanova University’s Masters in Theatre program to pair student dramaturgs with the professional artists who are rehearsing the readings.
All readings will take place at the Proscenium Theatre at the Drake, 302 South Hicks Street. Tickets for the readings are free but reservations are recommended. For information and to reserve seating, visit inisnuatheatre.org.