New Queer Plays Showcased at FAU

  • This story is for OutFAU, our student publication covering Florida Atlantic University. To see more from OutFAU click here.

D.A. Mindell. Courtesy of Theatre Lab.

Queer theater made its way to FAU in March through Theatre Lab’s annual New Play Festival, where new works are premiered before they are produced.

At this year’s festival, “La Paloma'' by Andie Arthur and “Harold & Babs” by D.A. Mindell offered two different conceptualizations on queer resistance in a time of increasing bigotry—particularly here in Florida. A thanks must be given here to the Fair Play Initiative and the Our Fund Foundation, a South Florida LGBTQ philanthropic organization, for providing the funding that made these plays possible.

“La Paloma” is a historical drama focusing on the actual La Paloma queer club that existed in Dade County which was raided by the KKK in 1937, described by the playwright as a sort of “Stonewall before Stonewall.” In a story about a close knit community, its oppression, and its resistance and resilience, there are a number of striking parallels to our present-day situation and thus should serve as a source for inspiration for our struggle for our liberation. It must be remembered that the first pride was a riot, and this history cannot be forgotten. 

“Harold & Babs” is a comedy about a couple in 1950’s Maryland, who switch their identities once they realize they are both transgender. While firmly a comedy, the play speaks seriously about the trans experience, parenthood, and Communism. At a time when trans and queer people are being persecuted, it was comforting to experience a performance that affirmed our experiences as trans people with all the comfort of a sitcom while still imagining a future where we can choose to live free from the confines of imposed ideas about family and gender.

These stories of queer resistance, both deeply political and personal, are necessary in times like these. Theater has always been part of our history, from Aristophanes to “Rent,” and it allows us to portray ourselves in ways that are often denied to us. Ultimately, the lesson from these stories for us, the queer community, is that we have to stand by each other as friends, as spouses, and as family.


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