being performed and how they may be catalysts
for change that he said in a perfect world there
would be no need for this festival in 10 years.
Moving the festival online, Odsess-Rubin
said in closing, offers the opportunity to transform
theater, to meet people where they are, instead
of clinging to traditional models of how
theater is presented. He believes that this form
is more impactful for — and appealing to — his
generation, refl ecting how they fi nd and consume
all types of media. Online, he said, viewers
may be able to engage initially in a casual
way and gradually be brought into the essence
of the work through its presentation and subject
“This is a different way people can engage in
theater,” Odsess-Rubin said, “and it’s thrilling.”
All the events are free and online. The complete
schedule is at dixonplace.org/category/
Sign up, and prepare to be challenged intellectually,
spiritually, and, of course, theatrically.
CRIMINAL QUEERNESS FESTIVAL | Dixon
Place on Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube | Free |
Through Jun. 28 | Schedule and events at dixonplace.
Playwright Adam A. Elsayigh, whose “Drowning in Cairo” caught
Adam Odsess-Rubin’s eye several years ago, is part of this year’s
➤ CRIMINAL, from p.34
those forums and panels have been broken out
into separate events, and anyone with an Internet
connection can participate, so the festival
can now reach more people around the world
who need to know they are not alone and that
there is a community of artists that welcomes
and celebrates them.
Odsess-Rubin is at his most passionate when
talking about the power of art as “powerful tool
of social change.” At 28, he has a vision of a
diverse theater and a belief that “diverse art is
richer and more powerful.” In addition, he said,
theater needs to be activist and, in light of the
current political climate, that activism is more
important than ever. He hopes the festival will
inspire people to become more activist themselves
by fostering understanding of what’s really
happening in the world. Pride, he said, is
not just about sexy guys in tank tops on fl oats,
it’s about resistance and the Stonewall riots. It’s
imperative, he insisted, to get back to that revolutionary
instinct that has been so transformative
in the culture at key moments.
Nor does Odsess-Rubin think this is a time
for complacency even in places where acceptance
of queer life is widespread. It can be dangerous
for queer artists to work in public in
many countries around the world, but here in
the US the community is not necessarily safe.
He noted the efforts by the Trump administration
to limit gay and trans rights and cited New
York State’s loitering for the purpose of prostitution,
which is often dubbed the “Walking While
Trans” ban because it is so often used to harass
transgender people, particularly trans women
“America is not so free,” Odsess-Rubin said.
“Our rights can be taken away in an instant.”
He is such a believer in the power of the pieces
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GayCityNews.com | June 18 - June 24, 2020 35