Lesbian -Feminist theatre troupe, Split Britches, will receive the 1999 oobr [sic] (the off-off-Broadway review) lifetime achievement award in a ceremony July 12th at the Union Square Theatre (17th St. and Union Square), at 7 PM.
Since the late 70's -- way before it was hip -- the Split Britches theatre company have been making lesbian-feminist theatre in the United States and Europe. Comprising Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw and Deborah Margolin, the company takes classic American texts, like Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" and Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, and revisits them through the context of contemporary gender/feminist criticism. The shows not only lampoon their original subjects but raise audience awareness of subtle messages of race and gender usually left unexplored in the texts.
Their largest success is probably 1991's Belle Reprieve , a take on Streetcar, which was a collaboration with British drag performance artists "Bloolips." The production had the reverse genders playing the roles. For example, Shaw, a genetic female, played Stanley. The exception was Bloolips' Precious Pearl -- a genetic male who performs in female clothing; he played Mitch. Belle was a serious investigation into the gender roles -- as written by Williams in Streetcar -- of the ultra-masculine Stanley and the weak, performative Blanche. Other plays by Split Britches include: Beauty and the Beast, Upwardly Mobile Home, and Little Women.
The oobr [sic] Awards, an off-shoot of the magazine of the same name, were created to acknowledge off-off-Broadway companies and showcases, with this year marking the 5th Annual oobrs.
oobr was founded by publisher and editor, John Chatterton, in order to provide reviews for productions often ignored by the mainstream press. "Off-Off-Broadway is a mecca for theatre," noted Chatterton. "If you saw a different production every night for a year, you still wouldn't be able to see everything there is to offer. The OOBRs acknowledge these unsung and often under-appreciated performers." Entertainment for the evening will be provided by the casts of Thanks Mom! Productions' The Cover of Life, Bo by Willie Ann Gissendanner, The Chekhov Theatre Ensemble's King Lear and Who Is That Guy? by Josh Cary and Patrick Gallo. The ceremony will also provide a repast courtesy of Katz's Delicatessen at the after awards networking party.
Ticket price for the ceremony is $18, and should be reserved by calling 212-691-2014.
-- By Sean McGrath