Frigid Festival quickly approacheth. Starting February 18, the Kraine Theater and UNDER St. Marks will be hosting three full weeks chock full of against-the-grain theatre. This year, Frigid will host exactly 30 plays, operettas, and hybrid productions, which is plenty of theater to keep you busy.
If you don’t pay attention to this sort of thing really, you should know it’s the annual winter fringe theater showcase featuring subversive, queer, outlandish, and experimental performances crafted by emerging and established playwrights, actors, directors, and composers alike. Isn’t this why you live in New York? Or do you pay four times what your friends in Philly pay just so you can drink yourself into what might as well be a K-hole every weekend?
If this sounds familiar, then Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg is the performance for you. “It’s set in a post-apocalyptic Williamsburg where people are drinking whiskey all the time just to stay happy,” Serrana Gay explained.
We spoke with Serrana today, who co-wrote the story with Joseph Reese Anderson, and thankfully she was helpful in clearing up the confusion, because we wondered, what’s so post-apocalyptic about that? Isn’t that a pretty accurate portrayal of Williamsburg (at least North of Metropolitan and South of the Nassau stop) right now?
Though Serrana admitted the Williamsburg of Whiskey Pants does share some traits with present day Billyburg, overall the world she’s helped create is “pretty fantastical, and not set in our real world at all.” Believe it or not, Serrana’s vision of a pickled North Brooklyn is even more extreme than the one we know, but less a comment on the neighborhood specifically than it is about “the culture of young people in New York.”
Guilty as charged.
But Whiskey Pants actually poses some serious challenges to the way many of us choose to live, regardless of whether or not we’re getting piss drunk every night. “The operetta is more about giving up your dreams to be content,” Serrana explained.
The upset comes with the arrival of a mysterious, ascetic outsider whose personal mission is to dump all that lovely (artisanal?) whiskey down the drain. Will the people of Williamsburg dare to lift their hazy veils of boozy bliss in favor or seeing the world for what it really is? You’ll have to check out Whiskey Pants to find out.
So why Williamsburg, why not… Bay Ridge? “We personally know a lot of people who came to New York City with a dream, and then found out it was hard,” Serrana explained. “And many of them settled somewhere cool instead of somewhere they like.”
For last year’s Fringe NYC Festival, Serrana and the team (including director and composer Christian De Gre) put on Fatty Fatty No Friends, an award-winning “dark spoken word musical.” They’ve been working on Whiskey only since October and furiously wrote all of the music just in the last month. “We submitted to Frigid with just a general concept and title– then we got in,” she explained of the crazy schedule.
Be sure to check to check out Whiskey Pants: the Mayor of Williamsburg at Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street in the East Village. Performances will be held at various times from February 18th through March 8th. Tickets are $16 and can be purchased here.