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Waiting for Barbara by Dan Fishback: A Reading on the Tenth Anniversary of the War in Iraq

“Have you no sense of HISTORY, Davenport? Do you realize what this MEANS?! For the daughter of the President of the United States to arrive at an Opening Night War Party with two homosexuals?! Don’t you comprehend the ramifications of this invitation?! We’ve won, Davenport! We’ve won!”
—Dan Fishback, Waiting for Barbara (2006)

Dan Fishback’s upsetting, frantic comedy Waiting for Barbara takes place on March 20, 2003—the first night of the War in Iraq. Two gay Yale seniors are waiting for the President’s daughter (also a Yale student) to bring them to “an opening night war party” on campus. She is late, so they occupy themselves with drugs, racism, and mutually assured emotional destruction.

Ten years after that night—the tenth anniversary of the war—Fishback is revisiting his play to memorialize the senseless deaths of over 100,000 casualties, and to reconsider the relationship between white gay men and the violent power structures of Western imperialism. The reading will be followed by a public conversation with Fishback about the play, the war, and ongoing debates about pinkwashing and homonationalism.

Featuring Gideon Glick, Erin Markey, and Chris Tyler

Director: Sam Pinkleton
Music Director: Matt Katz
Producer: Caleb Hammons

“Sassier and more fun than Angels in America.” —Village Voice

“Since I moved to NYC, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about the Dan Fishback ‘experience,’ and now, having experienced it first hand, it’s sort of like the Beyonce experience. Except, with Dan, neuroses replace the wigs, glitz, and glamour.” —GAYLETTER

Dan Fishback has been writing and performing in New York City since 2003. Major works include The Material World (2012), thirtynothing (2011), and You Will Experience Silence (2009), all directed by Stephen Brackett at Dixon Place. Time Out New York named The Material World one of the top ten plays of 2013. Fishback is a resident artist at the University of Pennsylvania and has enjoyed previous residencies at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU (2012) and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (2010–12). He has received grants from the Franklin Furnace Fund (2010) and the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists (2007–09). Fishback curates and hosts the queer theater series “La MaMa’s SQUIRTS.” His band Cheese On Bread has toured Europe and North America in support of their two full-length albums Maybe Maybe Maybe Baby (2004) and The Search for Colonel Mustard (2007), the latter of which was reissued in Japan in 2010 on Moor Works Records. As a solo musician, Fishback has released several recordings, including Sweet Chastity (2005, produced by César Alvarez of The Lisps), and his latest, The Mammal Years (2012). He was a member of the movement troupe Underthrust, which collaborated with songwriter Kimya Dawson on several performances and videos. Fishback’s essay “Times Are Changing, Reb Tevye” was featured in the anthology Mentsh: On Being Jewish & Queer (Alyson Books, 2004). His visual installation “Pen Pals” was featured in the 2011 SoHo exhibition of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History. Fishback frequently teaches workshops on performance composition and queer performance culture. He blogs at thematerialworld.tumblr.com and his website is danfishback.com.

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Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David and Hermine Heller.

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