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Aziza Barnes, Mara Vélez Meléndez, Roger Q. Mason, ruth tang, Liliana Padilla, Ty Defoe.

Breaking the Binary to Showcase Trans, Non-Binary, and Two-Spirit Work

A new festival set for the fall will feature 6 new works by trans, non-binary, and two-spirit artists, as well as an evening 15 new monologues from the TNB2S+ community.

NEW YORK CITY: George Strus, founding artistic director of the Breaking the Binary (BTB) Theatre Festival, has announced the line-up for this year’s inaugural festivities, set to run Oct. 10-16 at NYC’s Theatre Row.

The Breaking the Binary festival is envisioned as a theatrical community for transgender, gender nonconforming, twospirit, genderqueer, agender, gender-expansive, bigender, gender-fluid, or lives otherwise outside of the cisnormativity gender binary. The festival offers an opportunity for artists who identify within these realms to develop a piece over the course of 29 hours with performers, culminating in a public reading presentation at the end of the festival.  

George Strus

Said George Strus in a statement, “Breaking the Binary Theatre Festival centers the voices and stories of artists in the trans, non-binary, and two-spirit (TNB2S+) communities by carving out space and providing resources to explore new works, all the while building community and reclaiming our stories and artistic license.” They added, “TNB2S+ theatremakers have long been misrepresented and underpaid for their work in the American theatre; in supporting and amplifying over 100 TNB2S+ theatremakers, it is vital that every creative decision be made by a member of the TNB2S+ community and each artist compensated equitably for their time and labor (making no less than New York’s living wage of $21.50 an hour). Additionally, tickets for each of the presentations will be complimentary to ensure the works are available to anyone and everyone interested in joining or supporting the BTB community.”

This year’s lineup includes Trans World by Ty Defoe, in which several trans individuals are picked to temporarily live in a house and get filmed non-stop for a new reality TV show, and the lines between pretend and real drama become uncomfortably blurred; Twitch by Liliana Padilla, in which a man goes missing, a happy marriage falls apart, and trust is nowhere to be found, not even on Craigslist; Hide and Hide by Roger Q. Mason, about a recent Filipina immigrant and a white gay male rent boy whose lives collide in 1980 Los Angeles, in a Homeric critique of the American Dream; Work Hard Have Fun Make History by ruth tang, billed as an exhaustive catalogue of all the possible kinds of phone calls that exist, from customer service helplines to phone sex to cold calls from prophets; Nana by Aziza Barnes, a multi-generational play based on Barnes’s paternal lineage and their self-mythologies, set in the Bronx in the late ’50s; and Thelma and Louise and The Time Machine by Mara Vélez Meléndez, a romance through the multiverse about all the possibilities and impossibilities of women loving women.

With the collaboration of Broadway Licensing, Breaking the Binary Theatre Festival will also present an evening of 15 new monologues from the TNB2S+ community commissioned by BTB. Broadway Licensing will publish and license the monologues with profit proceeds being donated back to the festival.

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