It's chaos outside of the eastside duplex where one of the final rehearsals for the second annual Lesbian Short Play Festival is taking place. But outside, three women are stealing quick doses of nicotine before diving back into the madness.
It's a bit like going back to the days of middle school, sneaking in quick puffs between rounds of giggling. And just like your normal middle school conversations, the topic of kissing is eventually brought up.
"Women are definitely better kissers," says Allison Rose, a black-clad, curly-haired woman next to me.
The other two emphatically give their approval.
The women spout off a litany of other reasons ranging from less awkward moments, to smelling better, and the curious response of better oral hygiene noted by the petite redhead to my left.
They politely offer to let me in on some girl-on-girl action because, after all, how am I supposed to write about it if I don't experience it? A sound argument, yes, and though I'm not one to always play by the rules it would probably not be proper journalistic behavior to start snogging one of the people I'm interviewing. I stutter out a respectful decline to the invitation.
The names of these ever accommodating women are Allison Rose, Teresa Simone and Sara Thompson. They are three-quarters of the actors who comprise the talent that will bring to life five never-before-seen plays (Martie van der Voort, the remaining member, is still inside running through a performance).
The plays all have major characters who are lesbians, a theme that was stumbled upon entirely by accident last year by Ry Herman, Bloody Unicorn Theater Company artistic director.
"Coincidentally, last year we just had all these plays featuring lesbians and decided to make it a theme," said Herman. "The response was extremely positive so this year we decided to continue it and had a national call for plays. We got more than 200 plays and had to pick just five of the best to show."
A mixture of both drama and comedy the festival kicks off with Rebekah Lopata's "What if I Don't," a story about Jennie, a woman who is having second thoughts on her wedding after having a fling with her best friend. Simone, the aforementioned redhead, plays the best friend and accidental lesbian.
"I'd have to say my character has never really thought of being a lesbian," Simone said. "It doesn't matter that she's had sex with her best friend. It just hasn't crossed her mind because girls like her aren't supposed to be gay."
Second on the bill is "Paris" by Lyralen Kaye, a UA alumna and now transplanted New England actor and playwright. This play is about a lesbian couple, Bernadette and Stephanie, who are trying to celebrate their anniversary by imagining a romantic dinner in Paris.
Brooklyn-based playwright Adam Szymkowicz's "Save" is a piece about Lisa, played by Thompson, whose mother, played by Rose, discovers that she is gay after reading some of her love poetry.
"A Lover's Quarrel, A Parent/Child Conflict And A High Speed Car Chase All Neatly Resolved In Under Fifteen Minutes (Just Like In Real Life)" is by Minnesotan Matthew Hanson. It gets honors for having the longest and most self-explanatory title. It also has the dubious distinction of being the most difficult of the five plays to perform, according to Herman.
"It's a madcap comedy with constant speed and extensive technical aspects, but I think that it may be one of the best in performance," Herman said.
The final one-act is by Quincy College writing teacher Ginger Lazarus. "Lemonade" has van der Voort carrying the responsibility of the play entirely by herself in a more than 10-minute monologue. Peg, a hung-over elementary school music teacher at a progressive Quaker school, laments to her group of second graders the sorry remains of her love life.
The material may be of a homosexual nature, but the plays can relate to all sexual orientations. According to Rose, you can put a man in one of these relationships and it would still work.
"For people who see it just for the lesbian aspect they don't see the rest of it," Thompson said. "I think it's much more about being a woman and what women want and need and deserve."
The Bloody Unicorn Theater Company only produces original works, a fact that all those involved view favorably.
"There's nothing wrong with Shakespeare, but it's been done," Simone said. "I think that there's something really positive about supporting small arts and small theater companies, especially one like the Bloody Unicorn Theater Company, because that's one way you drive art to new directions and new ideas."
Meanwhile, new ideas are always welcome. "There is some stuff that hasn't been done that needs to be done." Simone said. "There have been queer women on the stage since there have been women, but still there's hardly anything on Broadway about lesbians because it hasn't moved that way yet."
The Bloody Unicorn Theatre Company will present Lesbian Shorts II: A festival of original one-act plays with a Sapphic Slant tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Shows take place at the Cabaret Theater, located upstairs in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave.
Performances will run Friday through Sunday until Sept. 11. Friday shows start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday performances are at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 and can be reserved by calling (520) 990-3628.