New guerilla musical 99% Stone takes to the streets with the liberating energy of a flash mob and the urgency of a pepper spray blast. Starting in June, The Theater Offensive OUT in Your Neighborhood takes playwright Letta Neely’s bold workshop production 99% Stone on a Neighborhood Pride Tour through Boston, including performances at UFORGE Gallery in JP, Haley House in Roxbury, the Boston Center for Adult Education with The History Project, and the Dyke March.
With energetic original music by Melissa Li, 99% Stone takes us on a journey between 2012 and 1969, drawing parallels between the Occupy movement and the original spontaneous queer occupation of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Through flashmob-style street performances, 99% Stone tells the story of how a few young Flame Queens and Stone Butches got fed up, fought back, and sparked an international movement that surges on to this day.
99% Stone hits the streets not a day too late, touching on relevant issues including economic injustice, racism, and tensions with police, with nods to Occupy Wall Street protests and Trayvon Martin. Activists facing violence and ridicule from police from 1969 to 2012 ask, “Is this how freedom feels?” Some grow frustrated with the stop-and-go pace of radical revolution, but many find that speaking truth to power gives them the freedom they strive for, declaring, “The people united will never be defeated!”
Far from a traditional theatrical production, 99% Stone engages audience members and passerbys face to face, issuing calls to action and appeals to spread the word via social media. 99% Stone tells the people’s stories in the people’s voices, and aims to inspire the rest of the 99% to empower themselves by sharing their stories and fighting for justice.
On June 7th, in conjunction with The History Project’s Pride: 40 Years of Protest and Celebrationphotography exhibit, The Theater Offensive’s Executive Artistic Director Abe Rybeck will be speaking on a panel about Pride and how it has changed over the years from a political protest and activism toward a more celebratory event with corporate sponsors.
99% Stone was originally conceived by Rybeck and is based on the most recent Stonewall research, including Stonewall Uprising interviews with people active in the 1969 Riots. 99% Stone grew out of The Theater Offensive’s 2011 Neighborhood Pride Tour production, Rachel Tension & Sybil D’isobedience. This workshop production of 99% Stone is directed by Lyndsay Allyn Cox, with a cast featuring Amanda Spinella, Matthew Phillips, Kelsey Hercs, Sheldon Brown, and Nuni Simon. The Theater Offensive is the lead commissioner of 99% Stone, with co-commissioners National Performance Network (New Orleans),Real Art Ways (Hartford), DiverseWorks (Houston), and Nursha Project (New York).
The Theater Offensive OUT in Your Neighborhood engages local community members in creating art that gives voice to the diversity of LGBT experience where we live, work and play. TTO’s year-round community-based workshops, intensive engagement with at-risk youth to end bullying, and free street theater performances are focused in Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and the South End.
** Please note: dates & times are tentative. Stay posted for a complete list of performance dates! **
June 7th: The History Project @ Boston Center for Adult Education
June 8th: Dyke March @ Boston Common
June 9th, 11:45 a.m.: Boston Center for the Arts
June 17th, 11 am: Jamaica Plain Pride Brunch @ UFORGE Gallery (767 Centre St)
June 21st, 7 p.m.: Haley House Café & Bakery