The Rainbow Theatre Project, whose ambition it is to present “plays and musicals that reflect the unique experiences, interests and history of the LGBTQ community,” has announced a 2017-2018 season composed of two full productions and two staged readings.
The two full productions — which start in 2018 — are Wendy Graf’s No Word in Guyanese for Me and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner.
Graf’s play, which F. Kathleen Foley of the Los Angeles Times called “heartfelt and moving,” traces the story of Hanna, a Guyanese child sent to live in New York who, after an unfortunate arranged marriage, becomes something there is no word for in Guyanese: a lesbian. No Word documents her struggle to reconcile her sexual identity with her Muslim faith. The Rainbow production will feature Ashley K. Nicholas, and be directed by Julia Hurley. It will run from February 8 to March 4, 2018 in the DC Arts Center on 18th Street NW.
Wagner wrote The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe in the seventies as a vehicle for her longtime partner Lily Tomlin. Tomlin, in this one-woman show slipped into a wide range of characters — including, as Charles Isherwood of Variety describes her, “Trudy, perhaps the most lovable of the many characters…[who] is a tattered repository of human wisdom, all collated and arranged on Post-It notes…[such as] ‘I personally think we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.'” While Rainbow Theatre Project has not yet announced who will star in the play, Jeanette Buck will direct. April 5 to 29 of next year at the DC Arts Center.
In 2017, Rainbow will feature two staged readings — of Tim Caggiano’s and Jack Calvin Hanna’s Blue Camp on September 18, 2017 and Tennessee Williams’ Kingdom of Earth on the following October 16. Blue Camp takes us to Viet Nam just before the Gulf of Tonkin; the Blue Camp is the barracks reserved for soldiers who have been identified as homosexual; the Green Camp is the barracks reserved for soldiers who have been identified as criminals. Something other than fun ensues. In Kingdom of Earth, an impotent, tubercular transvestite, overly attached to his late mother, has just taken a bride (an occasional showgirl and prostitute) to his decaying ancestral manse, currently occupied, and farmed, by his multi-racial half-brother.