The Other Side of Silence, New York City’s oldest professional LGBTQ theater, continues to honor the community’s history this July, bringing Merril Mushroom’s long-lost play, BAR DYKES to The Flea Theater for its premiere on the New York stage.
Follow 11 bar dykes as they drink, dance, date, duke it out, and grab a few undisturbed moments. Under Virgina Baeta’s and Mark Finley’s direction, the audience will be immersed in a very distinct world of butches and femmes, eavesdropping on a girls’ night out.
Playwright Mushroom, drawing on her experiences as a lesbian in the Deep South and in New York City in the pre-Stonewall era, transports us into the hidden subculture of lesbian society in mid-century America, and into the women and their relationships in a precarious time.
In the early 1980s, Merril Mushroom wrote Bar Dykes, a one -act play about the gay bar culture of the 1950s. A longtime resident of Dowelltown, Tennessee, Merril has an enduringly rich herstory both locally within her neighborhood and the larger world, as a prolific writer and a “back to the land” lesbian.
The area in which she has spent the last 40 years has an extensive history of collective land projects established specifically for gays/queers/gender nonconforming people. Merril is an iconic fixture with her sharp wit and casual no nonsense attitude—a respected elder, she is an inspiration to many, both residents of Tennessee and its yearly visitors. While influenced by the radical culture of the 1960s/1970s, Merril and her work remain a timeless and formidable force to be reckoned with.
With this play, we preserve not only the cultural legacy of Merril’s work but share her herstory with a larger audience. Contemporary conversations surrounding queerness and gender nonconformity have made massive strides towards breaking down ignorance, intolerance, and hate. These advancements have been wrought with persecution, police brutality, and death.
When Pegacorn Press published Bar Dykes, they celebrated the life and work of Merril Mushroom and also honored those who have fought to live freely, love whom they want, and make the world a safer, more accepting, and interesting place. TOSOS is proud to produce this amazing work, and honor its author, her life and vision. We recognize there is still a long way to go—Bar Dykes offers new perspectives on our past, acting as a catalyst for progression into the future.
July 11 – August 3 at The Flea, NYC
Address: 20 Thomas Street, New York City
All performances are at 7pm
Thursday through Saturday – July 11-13
Wednesday through Saturday – July 17 – August 3
Tickets: $32 (including theater restoration fee)