Historical fiction through a queer lens

LOS ANGELES — This past season, two local theater companies devoted to developing and showcasing bold new voices joined forces to rebound from pandemic hardships together.

In their latest collaboration, Skylight Theatre and Playwright’s Arena are presenting the world premiere of the new play “Lavender Men.”

Written by Roger Q. Mason, a queer, nonbinary artist of color, the historical fiction bends time and reality, reimagining the relationship between President Abraham Lincoln and his legal secretary, Elmer Ellsworth, through a modern day queer lens.

The show, which was developed in SkyLab, was supposed to debut in 2020, but it was delayed. Mason is grateful for the extra time because it allowed them to revise and rework the script.

“That time period emboldened me to speak out against a lot of the injustices that are heaped on plus sized bodies, on queer bodies, on Black bodies,” they explained. “What it has become over the last couple of years is a rally cry for self-love.”

”Lavender Men” runs through Sept. 4 at Skylight Theatre.