Dyke Drama on Stage

Take your place in the "Lesbian Love Octagon."


Take your place in the "Lesbian Love Octagon."

Liz Ligouri

With songs such as "Ubiquitous Ex-Girlfriend," "Butch on the Inside" and "Vibration Salvation," the musical play Lesbian Love Octagon captures the high-energy activism and collective consciousness of lesbian culture in the late 1990s.

Set in a "wimmin's" bookstore on the Lower East Side of New York City, a lesbian bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and other lesbian hotspots in and around New York City, Lesbian Love Octagon's reprise is sure to become an off-off Broadway sensation if its sold-out limited run in 2010 is any indication. The re-tooled musical will go live this June for a month's worth of theatrical performances in New York City, with high hopes of subsequent runs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

According to press materials, the play "follows the journey of Sue, a less than butch dyke with a broken heart, as she tries to cope with losing her girlfriend to her ex-girlfriend. When Sue’s friends (a bevy of ex-girlfriends and ex-girlfriends' ex-girlfriends) come rushing to her aid, they incite a tempest of lust and betrayal as they try to convince Sue that the answer to happiness exists in polyamory, pomade, and online personals."

Lesbian Love Octagon was conceived by playwright Kimberlea Kressal, who says after being a militant feminist activist and getting her lesbian heart broken in the 1990s, the 9/11 attack on N.Y.C. was the final straw that led her to flee the city for warmer, gentler climes. "I wrote odes to my life as a lesbian in N.Y.C.," she recalls. "I have always journaled in lyrics, something my father does, too. I wrote 'Ubiquitous Ex-Girlfriend', it was fun, and I sent it to friends who got a kick out of it."



Kressal says she got lost in other work, but kept thinking about a lesbian musical. Enter Will Larche, a musical theater director with whom Kressal had gone to school, but "years apart, his sister was in my class," she says. Once they decided to collaborate there was no turning back. Larche says the first draft "was a bunch of bad lesbian jokes with lyrics, and even the book didn't make sense." He reordered the lyrics, together they wrote new songs, and Kressal rewrote the book. After 10 years of on again off again writing, rehearsing, hustling for production money, workshopping the play, managing an ever changing set of cast members, and even making her own costumes and props, Kressal realized her dream of a live lesbian musical in the summer of 2010. Lesbian Love Octagon was an instant hit.

Filled with references to '90s cultural markers such as women's studies, radical feminism and Bitch Magazine, iconic musicians Ani DiFranco, Kathleen Hanna, and Sleater-Kinney, and with an ode to the '90s online dating site PlanetOut.com aptly titled "WWWDOT", Lesbian Love Octagon covers a lot of lush lesbian herstory. "Where else can you find lesbians on stage singing about Adrienne Rich, dildos, and falling in love with a girl?" Kressal asks.

In an effort to increase excitement and raise money for the Los Angeles and San Francisco runs, as well as a possible a 2014 Off-Broadway production, the non-profit theatre company has an IndieGoGo campaign running through March 30.

And check out the Lesbian Love Octagon music video, featuring the hit song "Drink To Being Single," which premiered live on Friday, March 8 at Henrietta Hudson in New York City,

Lesbian Love Octagon will run June 5th – 29th at the Kraine Theater, 85 E 4th Street in NYC. For more information, log onto www.lesbianthemusical.com

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