Last year Patrick’s Cabaret took their already radical mission and added a unique spin on flash theatre to their mix, creating a night of pressing and important theater. Lightning Rod was a magical night as several different one act plays took stage, each with its own viewpoint, aesthetic, and agenda. As an audience member I sat riveted for the duration of all four innovative plays, each totally different from the next yet completely in line with the Cabaret’s general tone.

Lightning Rod is created completely in one week. Everyone meets early in the week to talk about what’s important to everyone regarding messaging and creation right now. After that meeting, writers punch out plays as quickly as they can. Directors have just a couple of days to get the play on its feet, and that weekend, the curtain opens and the magic is revealed.

Freelance director and theatre artist Kat Purcell led the charge last year, producing, curating and organizing this huge project. Some of the biggest names in the local arts scene joined them for the night, alongside people with no experience but plenty of talent. Most art that we cover here at The Column is unique, progressive, and exciting but Lightning Rod pushed both Patrick’s Cabaret and flash theater to new heights. Round Two of Lightning Rod is following a lot of the same format but Patrick’s never settles for the same show twice. Purcell is being joined by emerging arts leader Marcel Michelle-Mobama. The two will co-produce this year, with Michelle-Mobama adding a thrilling new voice to this important work.

This year’s line-up includes writers Seth Matz, Nina Medvedeva, Yoni Tamang, Zeam Porter, Malakai Greiner and Diana Siegel-Garcia. Their original plays will be directed by Dua, Keila Anali Saucedo, Adrienne Kleinman, Xochi de la Luna, Rica de la Concha and Christie Dove.

Performers come from all mediums and include Nikki Abramson, Mike C: Dancer on Wheels, Deep Roots Jessica, Ari Newman, caspian wirth-petrik, Mike Curran, Zealotron, Kallie Melvin, Jessica Eckerstorfer, Ogechi Egonu, Lucas Scheelk, Wolf Valencia, sente, Kenny Ngo, Ricardo Beaird, Erika Dani, Kevin Kaoz, Julia Gay, Seng Xiong, Lelis Brito, Lizzette Chapa, Sophea Ek, Amy Salloway, Kassia Lisinski and Camille Mitchell. It’s an all-star line-up for sure, with enough newbies to keep us in anticipation until the big event.

As Patrick’s continues its season of sunsetting (by which we mean closing its doors forever), it’s more important than ever to come out and see exciting art. It’s more important than ever to support queer-led art but please remember that the art being created in our community is worth seeing for your own benefit. It’s not just about showing up and supporting, though it’s about that too. It’s about taking an evening to experience something completely new and mind-blowing. It’s about recognizing the wealth of art and entertainment happening here and deciding to better your own life by participating. It’s about enjoying innovative audience experiences, and soaking them up before they disappear. Lightning Rod is offering something of true value. Don’t miss your chance to see it.

Lightning Rod is happening March 30th and 31st at Phoenix Theater at 7:30 p.m. More information including tickets are available at Patrick’s website. You can see sneak peeks at their Facebook event here, or buy tickets immediately here.

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