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Queens Chronicle

Celebrating LGBTQ+ rights, in a New York minute

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Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019 10:30 am

The borough’s daylong celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots that pushed the LGBTQ+ rights movement to the forefront is set for June 22.

Its centerpiece in a day of activism, reflection and community conversation, part of a citywide initiative, is “The Stonewall 50 Plays,” a collaborative effort involving Queens Theatre, Queens Museum and America’s longest-running grassroots theater company, The One-Minute Play Festival.

Beginning at 2 p.m., the staged reading of 50 one-minute (or less) plays by as many LGBTQ+ playwrights will provide “a chance to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are right now, and where we might be going,” according to the event’s creator, Dominic D’Andrea.

Among those represented is Jonathan Alexandratos, a self-described “non-binary pansexual playwright,” whose entry is entitled, “The World They Made.” Its author described it as a two-character piece that involves, most simply, “a non-binary who buys a sweater at Target,” assuring that “a lot more comes out” during the course of the play.

A resident of Astoria, Alexandratos sees the event as “a pushback against people who say we shouldn’t exist. The festival is recognition of the fact that the violence must stop. Art has always done this.”

Several teams of directors and actors are in charge of staging the plays. Nathaniel P. Claridad is directing no fewer than 10 of the pieces.

Claridad agreed with D’Andrea that “it’s a good time to take stock of how far we’ve come and what needs to change.” Suggesting that each of the plays offers a unique point of view, Claridad believes this is “a good time to listen to these voices.”

One might think that directing such short works might pose particular difficulties, but not so, according to Claridad.

“It’s all about clarity,” said Claridad, whose name in Spanish, coincidentally, means exactly that. As is the case when directing a full-length play, Claridad said each of these plays must have a beginning, a middle and an end, with the director “making sure the moment is complete.”

Linking many of the pieces, Claridad said, is the theme of “generations of community”: one play deals with an older gay man and a younger gay man; another focuses on a mother and daughter. It’s important, Claridad added, that younger people “interact with those who came before us ... who paved the way.”

While many of the plays set to be performed feature two characters, some have as many as four or five, Claridad said. Many of the actors appear in several pieces, all under the direction of a total of five directors.

According to Claridad, “We’re creating space for the queer community. Anyone is welcome to listen and learn about the queer experience.”

“It’s important for us to create this body of work,” said D’Andrea. “We hope the community will walk away with the robust experience of thinking very vividly about history, celebrating and acknowledging each other and their experience. We hope this work plants the seeds of many conversations to come.”

Free tickets for “The Stonewall 50 Plays,” to take place at the Queens Museum (located in the New York City Building in Flushing Meadows Corona Park), are already sold out, but anyone wishing to attend may still be in luck.

The museum suggests arriving early on the day of the performances, as some seated tickets may open up. In addition, a limited number of standing room spots in the mezzanine will be made available.

‘The Stonewall 50 Plays’
When: Sat., June 22, 2 p.m.
Where: Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Tickets: Free. (718) 760-0064,

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