Plays:‎ > ‎

The Butch Project Part I

The Butch Project began with a two-line voice-over that I hoped would become a performance-length monologue.  It is a multivariate, wide-ranging investigation of lesbian masculinity, employing past- and present-time drama, non-linear ancestor threads, performance, music, and dance in an epic of 3-to-4 plays.  The overarching structure of the work is:

Time is fluid.  Gender is fluid.  The emotional journey is the structure.

The central themes of The Butch Project are butch lesbian invisibility, erasure, and life-threatening homophobia, using memoir, cross-cultural friendships, political activism, humor, romance, and history.  It is a strong protest against today’s seemingly expansive “queering” of America, which actually is working to assimilate gender differences into the well-fortified (and white) heterosexual binary.

Out of nearly 350 submissions, the play was chosen as one of 4 Honorable Mentions for the 2019 Jane Chambers Feminist Playwriting Award!  A great honor.  Here is what they said:  "In addition to providing great roles for women The Butch Project  excited judges with the scope of this multivariate multi-part play project exploring lesbian masculinity. Judges especially appreciated the well-drawn characters, particularly Butch whom they found compelling and engaging. The use of musical interludes and the fluidity of storytelling with flashbacks served the moment of the play beautifully and the authentic, sometimes humorous and always humane exploration of butchness and female relationships struck the readers as a fresh and welcome feminist perspective that has not been adequately explored in contemporary playwriting."

Here's what Nick Malakhow had to say on the New Play Exchange in 2020: This kaleidoscopic theatrical collage combined warm, well-rendered scenes of human interaction with gorgeous poetry, potent soliloquies, plenty of space for movement/physical theater, and music. Perhaps its biggest strength was Brandon's truly intersectional exploration of lesbian masculinity and relationships, with her complex characters representing or interrogating race, socio-economic background, and many other identifiers. Butch and KG's evolving friendship provided a strong nucleus for this exploration, grounding some profound questions and assertions in nuanced and multi-dimensional characters. I look forward to tracing the journey of this piece and its future parts.

Thanks Nick!


Casting: 5W, 2M plus various performers/dancers, some of whom have brief speaking parts

Picture of Pat Parker (c) JEB (Joan E. Biren) 2016