CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL 2023
JUNE 21-23 AT LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Across the globe, queer artists risk censorship, imprisonment, and violence for simply sharing their truth.
THIS PRIDE, YOU ARE INVITED TO HONOR THEIR BRAVERY AND WITNESS WORKS HIGHLIGHTING THE QUEER EXPERIENCE IN COUNTRIES WHERE QUEER ART IS CRIMINALIZED OR CENSORED.
THIS YEAR'S FESTIVAL FOCUSES ON QUEER ARTISTS FROM UKRAINE AND EASTERN EUROPE
The Criminal Queerness Festival is back at Lincoln Center and will take place in the David Rubenstein Atrium as part of the Summer for the City LGBTQIA+ Pride celebration!
National Queer Theater is excited to showcase full productions of Danielle Levsky's War and Play: A Clown Odyssey of Survival and Andrew Kushnir's The Division as well as Wojtek Rodak's the cHIMera: A Staged Reading.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Seating and entry are first-come, first-served; the line will form at the Atrium’s entrance on Broadway,
between 62nd and 63rd Street.
The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center is located at 61 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023.
ABOUT THE CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL
Now in its fifth year, National Queer Theater's Criminal Queerness Festival (CQF) is an internationally focused theater festival created in partnership with NYC Pride. By presenting plays by queer artists alongside activist talks, the festival uplifts queer and trans stories from around the world.
Since 2019, the Criminal Queerness Festival has produced playwrights from Syria, Venezuela, Uganda, Kenya, Iraq, China, Pakistan, Tanzania, Egypt, Mexico, India, and Lebanon.
The Criminal Queerness Festival is a 2020 NYC Mayor's Grant for Cultural Impact Awardee and has been recommended in The New York Times, The Advocate, and Thrillist.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21st at 7:30pm
WAR AND PLAY:
A CLOWN ODYSSEY OF SURVIVAL
Written by and starring DANIELLE LEVSKY
Directed by SMJ
Witness the power of humor, imagination, and wonder in the face of adversity in “War and Play: A Clown Odyssey of Survival”, which follows two young clowns, Vira and Nadiya, as they navigate the horrors of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Throughout the show, the audience is taken on a journey of joy, fear, hope, and survival. The clowns find lightness and spread joy in the midst of chaos, creating shadow puppets, mocking soldiers, playing with found objects to make toys and dolls, and more. As they leave Ukraine and seek safety, the clowns discover the true resilience of their spirits. Even in the darkest of times, there is always room for joy and light. Danielle Levsky brings her vaudevillian sensibilities to bear in this new performance premiere exploring the dark absurdity and terror at the heart of the Ukrainian conflict.
About the Playwright
Danielle Levsky (she/her) is a Post-Soviet, Jewish, and Queer performer, writer, and educator who has a deep passion for bringing joy and wonder into the world through storytelling. Her specialty lies in clowning, physical theater, and interactive performance. She infuses her Jewish heritage into her work, most notably through her beloved persona Baba Yana, a Soviet Jewish Grandma Clown. She recently co-produced, co-devised, wrote, and performed in The Crone Chronicles, a physical theatre play that immerses the audience in the world of Baba Yaga's story through minimal set design and dynamic physicality. Danielle's experience as a performer and creator in clowning and mask work has also helped her challenge stereotypes and transport audiences to other worlds. Danielle has collaborated with institutions like Diversionary Theatre (San Diego), The Conspirators (Chicago), Silent Theatre Company (Chicago), Prop Thtr (Chicago), and more. She is also a certified clown teacher, with training from instructors at The Clown School, Cirque de Soleil, Theater Unspeakable, and has developed unique courses like Clown Yoga and Clown and Traditions in Judaism, which explore humor, spirituality, and ritualism in clowning. Danielle's work as a journalist also informs her creative pursuits, and she has served as the Theater Editor for Scapi Magazine and a contributor for various publications.
THURSDAY, JUNE 22nd at 7:30pm
the cHIMera: A Staged Reading
Written by Wojtek Rodak
DIRECTED BY DMITRI BARCOMI
After years spent in a convent school, Laura returns to her family home. Despite the passage of time, she has to face an invariably oppressive reality maintained by the hierarchy of the family and the church. The only solace Laura can find is love from years ago, love that for many reasons is forbidden in that reality. However, the apparent peace of that world is suddenly destroyed when a secret Laura has been carrying for years comes to light. Playing with the convention of melodrama, the author tells a story freely inspired by the memoir of Herculine Barbin, an intersex person living in 19th century France. By placing the plot of the drama in a distant reality, he describes the reality of today's Poland through metaphor. He asks: is it possible nowadays to go beyond the old conventions and write a believably happy ending?
About the Playwright
Wojtek Rodak (he/him) is a Polish queer artist, performer, and theater director living in Warsaw. He is a student of the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow and a graduate of film production at the National Film School in Lodz. He’s mainly interested in queer and socially engaged projects, especially as an artist working with groups at risk of exclusion. In his video "Interview with the vampire," which was shown as part of the POLSKIE EIDS residency at Biennale Warszawa, he talked about the experiences of people living with HIV. He also collaborated with people with visual impairment in the project "The practice of seeing" and with queer youth in performance "Colorful dreams". In 2021, he was awarded the TR Debut prize at the 10th Young Directors Forum in Krakow, and then in the season 2021/22 he staged the play "Tom at the farm" by Michel Marc Bouchard at TR Warszawa. During the coronavirus pandemic, he was also responsible for the concept and coordination of the online art & social project "The year I stopped making art", about which an article appeared in the monograph “Lockdown Cultures” published by the UCL Press. His debut dramatic text “the cHIMera" was distinguished in the 2nd edition of AURORA: The Dramatic Award of the City of Bydgoszcz.
FRIDAY, JUNE 23th at 7:30pm
Written by ANDREW KUSHNIR
DIRECTED BY SRĐA
Andrew, the gay eldest grandson to a famous Ukrainian watchmaker, feels an urgent need to pay his patriotism forward to his nephew in the face of Russia's ongoing invasion. But contentions about their family’s history call Andrew back to Ukraine with big questions – for the dead most of all. Encounters with a shrinking village, war historians, and a ghost holding a grenade stretch a writer across one of the great divides: between what is remembered and what is forgotten. Canadian-Ukrainian playwright and activist Andrew Kushnir takes audiences on a journey through Ukraine's past, present and a version of its future in this thrilling new play.
About the Playwright
Andrew Kushnir (He/Him) is an award-winning playwright, director, and activist who lives in Toronto. He is artistic director of the socially engaged theatre company Project: Humanity, a leading developer of verbatim theatre in Canada. His published plays include The Middle Place, The Gay Heritage Project (with Paul Dunn and Damien Atkins), Towards Youth: a play on radical hope, Small Axe and Freedom Singer (in the recently released Moving the Centre co-written with Khari Wendell McClelland). Andrew is also the creator and host of This Is Something Else, an acclaimed investigative podcast series for the Arts Club in Vancouver. He will have his Stratford Festival directorial debut in June 2023 with Casey and Diana, a play about Princess Diana's real-life visit to Canada's first stand-alone AIDS hospice. A proudly queer Ukrainian-Canadian, he founded the We Support LGBTQ Ukraine Fund in April 2022, which, to date, has raised over $117,000 for NGOs and activists meeting the needs of LGBTQ+ Ukrainians trapped or internally displaced by war. lgbtukrainesupport.com
PRODUCER; ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - Adam Odsess-Rubin
PRODUCING DIRECTOR - Rose Oser
CURATOR/ CULTURAL CONSULTANT - Aleksandr Krapivkin
STAGE MANAGERS - Katherine Bahena-Benitez and Mars Neri
DRAMATURG - Begum "Begsy" Inal
CASTING DIRECTOR - Joseph Hayes
LIGHTING DESIGNER - Moneé Stamp
SOUND DESIGNER - Tani Kahn
COSTUME DESIGNER - Jules Peiperl
PRODUCTION MANAGER - Brittany Coyne
PROPS/SCENIC DESIGNER - Dan Daly
WAR AND PLAY
SUPPORT THE CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL
This year, we’re proud to be able to increase artist pay over last year in addition to increasing the number of artists hired—doubling our total artist pay this year. As National Queer Theater continues to grow, we aim to increase our support for queer and international artists each year. In order to continue in our mission to uplift and provide artistic space free of censorship, we need your help.
Contribute today to the Fund for Criminal Queerness.
Our goal is to reach $30,000 by the end of June, so give today and spread the word!