The summer is a time when most galleries are guilty of half-hearted programming. (Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst? Really, Gagosian? Je pleure.) Fortunately, the rough-and-tumble people of downtown theater offers its most brilliant, experimental work in these hottest months when the rich have fled to the Hamptons.
Corkscrew Theater Festival is entering its second year with a near-complete roster of trans people and women as playwrights, producers, directors, and actors. Works like “Pie Shop Play” (July 20–29) offer something a lot more absurdist and bizarre than what you’ll likely see in an Off-Broadway playhouse. Two sisters struggling to run their dessert store together end up stuck in a dramatic fight of gibberish and jumbled English when a pipe bursts, releasing toxic gas into their bakery.
Other productions promise something a bit more beautiful, if also cruel. A finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwright’s Conference, Anya Richkind’s “The End of Mermaids” (July 12–22) tempts to reawaken your childhood fantasy of joining Ariel under the sea — just pay no attention to the nearby alligators. If you’re looking for a different kind of mermaid this summer, there are several queer-themed theater festivals worth investigating. Try out the Trans Theatre Festival (July 9–22) at The Brick in Brooklyn. Fresh Fruits Festival (July 9–22) at The WILD Project will also have its 16th consecutive run. There’s also Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival (July 13–28), which bills itself as the longest-running LGBTQ festival in the world presenting “queer theater, dance, music, literature, puppetry, comedy, and homoeroticism for the whole family!”
When: July 10–August 5
Where: Paradise Factory (64 East 4th Street, East Village, Manhattan)