Whim Productions is back in a brand new intimate space for another round of their annual LGBTQ+ short play showcase Alphabet Soup: Stories from Queer Voices. Led by Producing Artistic Director Kevin King, the program is made up of six short plays that once again cover a huge range, both in subject and tone, showcasing some fantastically raw queer talent.
The show opens with “Debating” (written by King), a sweet and simple story of a teen debate champ overcoming some self-confidence issues and finding friendship in a surprising ally. “Outlook Not So Good” (by playwright Michael Donnici) takes a sharp turn into fantasy with a one-man show from a self-absorbed heir telling the story of how he came to be trapped inside a magic 8-ball. “Marriage Play” (writer Em Swenson) centers on an established, monogamous couple somewhat reluctantly exploring dipping their toes into polyamory. (The women’s story is emphasized by the amusingly contradictory choice to mask the show’s multiple costume changes with brief scenes of mundane domesticity—vacuuming, dusting, guzzling wine, etc.) “Steam” comes from first-time playwright Matthew Beerman, about the potential for finding community and connection in the bathhouse scene.
The final two plays are special standouts. An amusing and creative look at the sometimes excessively contradictory human condition, “What Did Penis Do” (from Kraig Kensinger) personifies the head, heart, and, well, you know, of a man detailing his dating life, making each body part a full character brought to life on stage.
“The Dress” (by Mylan Gray) is both the story of a couple getting to know each other—their needs, their insecurities, their boundaries—in the early weeks of a new relationship, as well as a deeply heartfelt exploration of gender dysphoria as a trans individual in the early stages of their transition is forced into the high-stress situation of having to find a dress to wear to the wedding of their new partner’s sister.
Whim’s Alphabet Soup is a fun and touching bit of theatre but its emphasis feels to be less on presenting a finished product and more on the process of creating art, allowing queer playwrights with varying levels of experience a chance to develop their work and their voices in a safe, supportive, enthusiastic workshop setting, and providing artists and audiences alike with a palpably joyous sense of community. The program is an invaluable resource to be supported and celebrated.
“Alphabet Soup: Stories from Queer Voices,” a production of Whim Productions, runs through June 29 at Whim Space, 415 Prospect Ave. For more information, visit whimproductions.com.