New York, NY (January 23, 2024) –The Flea announced today the world-premiere production BATHHOUSE.PPTX, by Jesús I. Valles (they/them), directed by Obie Award-winner Chay Yew (he/him) will run at The Flea Theater (20 Thomas Street) from Tuesday, March 19 through Monday, April 22. In line with The Flea’s radical new operating model, BATHHOUSE.PPTX has been developed in partnership with Valles as co-producer on all elements of their production.
BATHHOUSE.PPTX is an epic new play that follows Presenter, a gay Latiné student, whose PowerPoint presentation on the history of cleanliness and bathing quickly starts to burst at the seams with appearances from the ghosts of a bathhouse at the end of the world, A Conquistador! Wearing One of Those Hats!, A Very Real Twink, and even Laura Linney. Valles describes it as, “a group project for perverts. Somewhere between lecture, re-enactment, and cruising ground. A meditation on queer longing, queer grief, and all our queer worlds that will come to pass, that will come to be.”
BATHHOUSE.PPTX was selected as the 2023 recipient of the Yale Drama Series Prize judged by Jeremy O. Harris and is the first recipient of The Flea’s production commission, an open call program that provides finishing funds and a full production to an experimental new work by a Black, brown, and/or queer artist.
The Flea’s Artistic Director, Niegel Smith (he/him) says, “Every so often you come across a play that is epic in scale, written with delicious language and yet deeply personal, with characters that seize you as they careen toward their desires. Jesús’ play grabbed the attention of the entire Flea staff. As soon as we read it, we knew we had to bring it to production.”
“This is one of the most exciting, speculative fictions I’ve encountered in years, using a unique dramaturgy to explore a queer history that is quickly being erased,” said Jeremy O. Harris (he/him). “It brought to mind the works of many heroes like Samuel Delany, Martin Crimp, and Kathy Acker.”
Tickets for Flea Champions will go on sale Thursday, February 1. Tickets for the general public will go on sale Thursday, February 8. To learn more, please visit www.theflea.org.
Thanks to the generous support of The Tow Foundation, Jesús will be the Tow Playwright-in-Residence at The Flea. During this appointment, in addition to premiering BATHHOUSE.PPTX, they will play an integral role in the ongoing expansion of The Flea’s artistic programs and initiatives. Valles will be a member of the artistic staff, attend board meetings, represent The Flea across the city and regionally, and serve on The Flea’s new artistic advisory committee.
The Tow Foundation promotes expanded access to opportunities that improve people’s lives and strengthen society. Grounded in its decades of work in Connecticut and New York, the Foundation supports nonprofit organizations and visionary leaders to find and enact innovative solutions to persistent inequality. It works to ensure people can become full participants in their communities, achieve transformative and lasting progress, and develop approaches that allow everyone to reach their full potential.
To view photos of all lead artists as well as the Flea logo, please click HERE.
The Flea was refounded in 2021 with the mission to support and invest in experimental art by Black, brown, and queer artists. The Flea provides space, financial support, producing partnership and other resources so that they may develop and share their vision in community with audiences.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Download artist photos HERE.
JESÚS I. VALLES they/them (Playwright) is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller, and performer from Cd. Juarez/El Paso. Valles is a 2023 Princess Grace Award recipient and a 2024 Tow Playwright in Residence at The Flea. Jesús is a 2021 CantoMundo fellowship recipient at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, a 2019 Lambda Literary fellow, a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Playwriting Fellow of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a recipient of the 2019 Letras Latinas Scholarship from the Community of Writers’ Poetry Workshop, and a poetry fellow at Idyllwild Arts Writers Week. Jesús is also a 2018 Undocupoets Fellow, a 2018 Tin House Scholar, a fellow of The 2018 Poetry Incubator, and the runner-up in the 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest. Their work has been published in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Palabritas, The Acentos Review, Quarterly West, The Mississippi Review, Palette, The Adroit Journal, BOAAT, The McNeese Review, and PANK. Their poetry has also been featured on NPR’s Code Switch, The Slowdown, The BreakBeat Poets’ LatiNext Anthology, and the Best New Poets 2020 anthology. As an actor, they are the recipient of four B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama (2018), and Outstanding Original Script (2018) and they were nominated for the Mark David Cohen New Play Award for their play, (Un)Documents. They most recently starred as Penny Marshall in Victor I. Cazares’ Pinching Pennies with Penny Marshall: Death Rituals for Penny Marshall for New York Theatre Workshop. Jesús was the OUTSider festival’s OUTsider-in-residence and holds an MFA in playwriting from Brown University.
CHAY YEW he/him (Director) is a multi-award-winning theater director, playwright and producer. As a director, Chay Yew’s New York credits include Mojada, Oedipus el Rey, Durango (OBIE, Outstanding Direction), Universes’ Ameriville and Low (Public Theater); Cambodian Rock Band (Signature); The Architecture of Loss (New York Theatre Workshop); A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick (Playwrights Horizon); Draw The Circle (Rattlestick, Mosaic Theater Company, InterAct and Playmakers Rep); My Manana Comes (Playwrights Realm); Where Do We Sit On The Bus? (Ensemble Studio Theatre, Playmakers Rep, Boise Contemporary Theater, Teatro Vista, City Theatre and Victory Gardens); The House of Bernarda Alba (National Asian American Theatre Company); and Last of the Suns (Ma-Yi Theatre Company). Chay served as the Artistic Director of Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago from 2011 to 2020.