What happens when storytelling, improv and alcohol are blended into a single event? How about when LGBTQ+ voices are the focal points? That would be the cocktail that produces Gadfly Theatre’s quarterly Drunk Queer History, but this time instead of alcohol and historical stories, Sober Queer History will put the spotlight on a personal story of storyteller Anton Lamon.
Though a slight departure from their classic event themed after Comedy Central’s “Drunk History” series, the event on Dec 18 promises to be equally entertaining and with a meaningful purpose.
“I think that especially in marginalized communities, we’re still incredibly impacted by the ghosts of trauma from our collective pasts,” Cassandra Snow, Artistic Director at Gadfly Theatre, said. “That’s why there’s such a large sober community in those communities too. Often the resources out there to deal with those things healthily prioritize white, straight, cis-normative narratives and voices, often having roots in spiritual or institutional paths that are oppressive to minorities or reinforce the societal status quo.”
That is why Sober Queer History was created; to give voice to modern day, personal stories within the community with Lamon’s personal background. Primarily, Lamon is a dancer, but with theater experience. His recommendation came from Out & Sober, a fellowship focused on recovery of LGBTQ+ addicts and alcoholics through community building.
The event will be broken up into three stories. First, Lamon, as storyteller, will perform the “Gadfly choice,” a historical story of the theater’s choosing. After he tells the story , the improv group, using only what they heard from the storyteller, will “run wild” with their own interpretation and reenactment for 15 to 20 minutes.
The improv members are often from Lavender Panic, an improv group of LGBTQ+ members who focus on queer visibility “by being visible and queer.”
Following the Gadfly choice, the second story will be Lamon’s own story from his background, which is the major difference between the Sober and the Drunk versions of the Queer History event. Following an intermission, the third and final story is audience choice.
Snow will offer two stories and based on cheers and applause, the audience will choose one and repeat the same two step process for the last improv performance.
“The audience choice always goes over really well,” Snow said.
This event is a unique blend of historical narratives, improvised performance and a queer-focus.
“I think people were hungry for an event likes this, with a format they kind of knew, but artists and styles they may not have, and of course, super queer-centric,” Snow said. “Most people really do feel like they learned some stuff… and cheers are the best feedback we could ask for.”
The show is on Dec 18 at 7:00 p.m at the Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis. Tickets can be purchased on the Brown Paper Tickets website for $10, but as a fundraiser to cover their own operation costs, high priced tickets can be purchased as donations.