THE QUEER WITCH CONSPIRACY streaming through June 27th from The Seeing Place theatre is a world premiere play that explores representation, inclusion, cultural appropriation, and what lines can be drawn that can’t be crossed. Based on true events in 2015-2016, it follows an online group named “The Queer Witch Project” started with good intentions and ends with controversy about selling human bones.
The play opens with Pala (Jon L Peacock) who leads the online group and offers land acknowledgments, and reminders to respect people’s pronouns, and encouragement to change their name as they see fit. Really nothing that would feel out of place in theatre virtually or in-person currently.
Written by Brandon Walker, who also plays Jadis, the person in New Orleans who collected the bones as they appeared through the ground in a place that was near an inground cemetery that had historically served the poor, and people of color. Jadis collected the bones as the earth and their goddess provided and made sure to make offerings in return to thank them for the bounty. The bones were being sold to help other practitioners in their spells.
The rest of the group is made up of people who all have various identifications, heritages, and beliefs. While these variances make for a diverse group, it does mean there are clashes when the group is confronted with the actions of Jadis and how it reflects on them and their practice.
The story covers a lot of ground as the group processes what unravels, and they get messy as they start to turn on each other, betrayals, and police get involved. Based on what I’ve read about the actual events, this seems like it’s following that group dynamic fairly closely. The show is very creative and thought-provoking. I’d be curious to see it staged in a live theatre to see how that impacts the viewing experience. As it stands, arguing on the internet while you watch it on the internet can feel a little bit too on the nose and tempting to turn off if arguing on the internet isn’t your idea of entertainment.
THE QUEER WITCH CONSPIRACY is streaming through Sunday,June 27th from The Seeing Place. Tickets are available for purchase at www.theseeingplace.com and prices running from $10 to $50.
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Mabel Laura Clare Browne
Elsa Erin Cronican*
Asriel William Ketter
Nas Juanes Montoya
Pala Jon L Peacock*
Jadis Brandon Walker*
Willow Weronika Helena Wozniak
Playwright Brandon Walker
Director Erin Cronican
Stage Management Shannon K Formas
Producers Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker
Sound Design Brandon Walker
Costume & Scenic Design Erin Cronican
Publicity Katie Rosin / Kampfire PR
Associate Producer – Outreach William Ketter
Event Production Weronika Helena Wozniak
Dramaturgy / Program Jon L Peacock
Marketing – Video Laura Clare Browne
Marketing – Social Media Juanes Montoya
Marketing – PR Robin Friend
Outreach – Groups Barbara Haas
* indicates member of Actors’ Equity Association