Unruly Sex, Illegal Love, Drunken Affairs And Rebel Cabarets: The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

With the upcoming theatre festival ready to storm stages across Dublin, we speak to the people behind a selection of the shows.

Promo for Revolting Women at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival featuring a young woman leaning against a wall holding a coffee cup

If we’re being honest, there’s nothing most people like more than a bit of drama, so with that in mind could there be anything more anticipated than this year’s International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival? With such a global glut of talent on offer, we speak to some of the teams bringing their shows to Ireland. 

ALL I SEE IS YOU

Hailing from the UK, All I See Is You documents the forbidden passion between two men in the years before the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partly decriminalised homosexual acts. We talked to writer Kathrine Smith about the show.

All I See Is You

“It’s a powerful, moving and sometimes funny two-hander about two ordinary lads poised between lust, self-doubt and imprisonment.

“Ciarán Griffiths of Shameless fame plays the wild Bobby whose world is turned upside down after meeting Ralph. One kiss and they’re both hooked, but it’s 1967 and their love is illegal. While Ralph buries his head in his books and tries courting his sister’s pal, Bobby can’t deny who he is and throws himself into the underground queer scene risking blackmail and arrest.

“I wrote the play for the 2017 Bolton Octagon National Prize which coincided with the 50th anniversary of partial decriminalisation. Back in the 1960’s men were arrested on the slightest suspicion of being queer and the police would routinely trick them into revealing any associates. While I was doing the research it was shocking to discover the terrible things many had to go through to hide their sexuality. I knew I wanted to write a love story that celebrates the courage it took for queer people to overcome prejudice and be their true selves. 

“Now the play is on tour, it’s alarming to see gay rights back under the spotlight with news of Brunei’s vile anti-LGBT+ laws. We just want the same as everyone else – to be free to fall in love.”

 

REVOLTING WOMEN

The homegrown theatre piece, Revolting Women: A Rebel Cabaret features a host of talented female artists celebrating the power of women. Producer Sonya Mulligan told the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival what to expect:

Revolting Women

“The show is a response to the Waking the Feminist movement in 2015. BeRn, who created  our first show, Estrogen Rising: A Rebel Cabaret, was indignant and thus inspired by the lack of women playwrights in the 2016 commemorations of the 1916 Rising. Revolting Women: A Rebel Cabaret was born from the ashes of that.   

“It’s a show about women in Irish history, from 1916 forward, who have fought for their country, for the vote, for equal pay, for equal rights, for bodily autonomy, for dignity and respect. Told through a variety of performances, we remember women lost to Irish history, bringing them to life and telling their stories through song, dance, film, poetry and drama. It is a show of honesty, disgust, delight, heartbreak, anger, strength and power. It is a celebration of the resilience of women, from Grace Gifford to the Dunnes Stores Strikers to Repeal.

“I love getting to see work from all over the world and also discovering local productions that I may not have been aware of before. It’s great to be part of a festival that highlights all aspects of queer life. International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is an opportunity to push the boundaries and create work without limits.”

 

SCHLONG SONG

Seattle based comedian and storyteller, Woody Shticks, is bringing his high-impact extravaganza, Schlong Song, over from the US to entertain the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival audiences.

Schlong Song

“I’ve had an unusually high number of unusual sexual experiences. My life (and my career) has been moulded by unruly sex – good, bad, and ugly – and Schlong Song began as a celebratory frolic through the landmines of queer intimacy. Through good ol’ fashioned storytelling, I found frank discussions of sex to be the best-decorated entry point to confrontations of power and privilege while getting to the bottom of respectability politics. Plus, it’s the funnest plunge into fruitful vulnerability around!

“Folks should expect salacious comedy, fitness montages, soft lights, hard truths, strip-tease shenanigans, emotional nudity, ravenous revelations, and a damn good time built on sound storytelling.

“My great grandparents Duffy moved to New York from Galway, and when I hitchhiked around the country first in 2012, I felt right at home. I’m excited to splash my Irish American comedy all over Dublin and the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival and to revel in the ever-growing network of queer makers around the world.”

 

A DRUNK LESBIAN LOVE AFFAIR 

Canadian-Ecuadorian writer and performer Thalia Gonzalez Kane fills us in on the genesis of her show – A Drunk Lesbian Love Affair.

Drunk Lesbian Love Affair

“One night I was with a dear lover I’d been on and off with for a while. I was a bit tipsy and exclaimed, ‘I’m going to write a play about you!’ She responded, ‘What’s it going to be called – A Drunk Lesbian Love Affair?’. I very quickly wrote the name down.

“A few months later, as I found myself coming into my queerness I stumbled upon that title once again. I started to consider, why do relationships work out when they do? Why can it be so hard to accept our sexuality and feelings? What exactly are we under the influence of when we’re in lust? In love? How do we know the difference? These questions formed the basis of what the show has become.

“People can expect to see scenes and feelings they recognise from their own life, or someone else they may know. The show, at its core, is about desire, longing and figuring out what love is. It’s about accepting oneself, however that may come about. People coming to the show should expect an intimate piece where the chaos of life is embraced and celebrated for what it is. I hope people will find comfort and familiarity with the feelings explored in the show that inherently make us all human. Messy, confusing, imperfect and beautiful humans.”

The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival takes place from May 6 – 19, for more information and to book tickets visit them here

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