That Uppity Theatre Company

Dr. Ken Haller, far left, Joan Lipkin and John Schmidt are participating in next week's Briefs Festival. The trio talked to 'Cityscape' host Steve Potter, far right, about the event on March 20, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

What do a gay mermaid looking for love, a Jewish mother who competitively wants her single son to have the biggest wedding, and a lesbian version of Dr. Seuss have in common?

They are all themes in this year’s Briefs Festival of Short LGBT Plays, a festival that brings together numerous directors and actors to showcase the work of eight different playwrights under one roof.

The eight plays being performed at the festival on March 27-29 at the Centene Center for the Arts have been selected out of more than 170 submissions from across the country.

Courtesy The Vital Voice

The third annual “Briefs” festival featuring short LGBT plays will be held downtown next weekend at La Perla. This year the plays were selected from over 100 submissions, said Joan Lipkin, artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company, which puts on the festival in partnership with The Vital Voice.

Joan Lipkin has been creating theater with people who have disabilities since 1996, when she co-founded the DisAbility Project.  An outgrowth of That Uppity Theatre Company, of which Lipkin is artistic director, the DisAbility Project brings together amateur and professional performers of all abilities to create theater based on lived experience.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  In remembering that historic event, the first name that comes to mind to most people is Reverend Martin Luther King and his I Have a Dream Speech.  But few know that the person responsible for a large part of the organization of that march and also for motivating King to his non violent method of activism was another civil rights activist, Bayard Rustin.

John Lamb

For the second time, That Uppity Theatre Company and The Vital VOICE join forces to present a festival featuring 7 short LGBT plays.  Each play lasts just 10 minutes, so audience members can see all 7 works in just 90 minutes. 

In “Briefs: A Festival of Short Lesbian and Gay Plays,” the list of local theater celebrities is anything but brief. 

The Feb. 24-26 weekend festival includes such veteran and award-winning directors as Edward Coffield, Annamaria Pileggi and Ed Reggi, and actors Donna Weinsting, Troy Turnipseed and Ken Haller. Even burlesque performer Lola Van Ella gets into the act. 

Where: La Perla (312 N. 8th Street), 63101