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Published on May 19th, 2015 | by Joe Madsen

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Dublin Gay Theatre Festival: By The Bi

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Mounting the second installment of their debut production By the Bi, Blazing Change Players brings an amorphously piquant performance to this year’s International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. As the title suggests, all matters bisexual are concerned. More interestingly, however, By the Bi is the only production confronting such issues within this year’s festival, the lone voice of its own middle ground. Having premiered a few months ago in the Virginia stomping grounds of co-writers and founders Caroline Downs and Morgan Barbour, this first stop in the show’s budding travelogue marks an important step in the fledgling theatre troupe’s beginnings. Both recent graduates of Virginia Commonwealth University, Downs and Barbour met last fall in collaborative coursework of their theatre degrees. The duo soon discovered common interests and talents, and they sparked a plan to write a piece on something they both shared: being bisexual.

Now ready to share their first production with audiences, these ladies spice this ensemble piece with all aspects of their dramatic education, inviting music, poetry, dance, monologue, and dialogue. Avoiding convention, the troupe move the show in such a fluid fashion as befits the subject itself. Multiple episodes reveal youthful struggles for acceptance from others and the self while the language often proves rhythmic, thoughtful, and pointed—sometimes preachy—and the interpretative acrobatics to accompany prove a provocative spectacle for the eyes. Unfortunately, the town-hall space of the Teacher’s Club in Parnell Square posed a hindrance to the aims of the show, both acoustically and visually. Dance moves that might have shown strongly fell clunky at moments, much like some of the sound cues which too often came to abrupt stops at poignant moments. Still, imagining the players of Blazing Change on their home turf excites, picturing what these talented ladies might conjure in the future.

An evolving piece from the start, there is room yet for By the Bi to improve its strengths but decidedly no doubt it will flourish in the capable hands of these talented young women. Joe Madsen

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