The Off-Broadway Theatre
In an interview about the off-broadway production of Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties in 2018, playwright Jen Silverman said, “I wrote the play I wanted to see,” and when I found this script, buried as a hyperlinked PDF deep in a Reddit thread about lesbian theatre, I knew there was something in it that was truly one of a kind. I had never laughed so hard reading a play in my life, and when it was over I was close to tears. These tears were not from laughter, though I had laughed a lot, but from the heartwarming joy I felt knowing that this play existed, allowing five non-men to be on stage, be gay as fuck, and be happy.
This play is equal parts Shakespearean and absurdist, centering on five queer non-men named Betty at five drastically different stages of the queer experience. Each representing a different queer identity, (see their costumes for a hint) they come together through extraordinary circumstances and learn new ways of accepting themselves and each other. In our version, this magical discovery takes place in Betty 5’s boxing gym – a liminal space that feels both fleshed out and transient – the physical embodiment of the group's collective rage, ever present around them even as they try to navigate through it.
Much like a Shakespearean comedy – as these five Betties are in many ways the lesbian equivalent of the Rude Mechanicals – you, the audience, are just as much of a part of the story as the characters are. Since entering this Thea-tah, you have entered the world of the show the Betties have prepared for you, their play within the play, if you will. You will be talked to, talked at, called out, and invited to partake in an ice cream party before you leave here tonight.
This play is the definition of radical queer joy. Here, we sing about pussy, we misinterpret Shakespeare, we recite lion erotica, and we scream about killing our husbands. We screw up and we forgive ourselves. We love hitting things. We wear our queerness on our sleeves, and we relish in the opportunity to share it with you.
PS: no cis-men were involved in the making of this production ❤️
Photos by Alexandra Contreras-Montesano
Show Clips and/or Full Production Footage Available Upon Request
Director: Madison Cole
Producer: Marissa Blum
Stage Manager: Eliza MacGilvray
Set Designer: Sydney Bryant
Lighting Designer: Kara Amar
Sound Designer: Ash Gold
Costume Designer: Selin Goren
Intimacy Choreographer: Kelsey Rainwater
Dramaturg: Alex Whittington
Assistant Director: Carson White
Makeup Artist: Evelyn Wu
Betty 1: Meridian Monthy
Betty 2: Rose Hansen
Betty 3: Victoria Pekel
Betty 4: Mikayla Johnson
Betty 5: Syd Bakal