"I never really think of Canada as being a different country," says Memphis actor and activist Carly Crawford. "I mean, I know it's a different country, but we're sort of the same, right?" The distinctions were driven home while visiting Buddies in Bad Times, the world's oldest and largest professional company devoted exclusively to developing work that reflects the life and experiences of the LGBT community. Crawford recalls taking da walking tour of Toronto's gay village when girls in her group asked what the gay village in Memphis was like. "We don't have one of those," she responded.
Crawford, who recently founded Q&A, an open and accepting queer youth theater group, says it can be lonely doing this kind of work in the South. There is a similar company in New Orleans and one in Lexington, Kentucky, but most of the theaters working with gay youth are concentrated in California and New England. "It can be pretty geographically isolating," she says.
Crawford isn't all alone in this endeavor, however. Q&A was created under the umbrella of Playhouse on the Square and is affiliated with the North American Pride Youth Theatre Alliance, which includes 24 theaters and Buddies in Bad Times in Canada. This week, Crawford hopes to raise her company's profile and discover new friends and allies when Q&A opens its first play, Queerly Ever After, an all-original show that puts an LGBT spin on classic fairy tales.
"Fairy tales are great to work with," Crawford says of the source material. "It's so easy to turn them on their heads." In this case, Queerly Ever After finds Cinderella trying on labels instead of shoes to see which one fits. Rapunzel is imagined as a lesbian locked away by her disapproving mother. And so it goes.
Although there's no bad language and the situations aren't too adult, Crawford recommends the show only to adults and children over 14. "Unless you don't mind having conversations with your kids about what asexuality or pansexuality are," she says.
"Queerly Ever After" at Circuit Playhouse Saturday, May 30th, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, May 31st, at 7 p.m. Pay What You Can — suggested donation $10 (937-6475)