Already closed | 1h 10m | East Village

55 Shades of Gay: Balkan Spring of Sexual Revolution

From 23 member  reviews
Members say: Confusing, Ambitious, Edgy, Disappointing, Dizzying

About the show

La MaMa presents the US premiere of Kosovo’s Qendra Multimedia in a contemporary burlesque story about LGBTI politics in the Balkans. More…

In the play, a gay couple apply to get married in a conservative, deeply homophobic provincial town. They make their request at a time when an Italian company has begun building a condom manufacturing factory in the town, a project that is financially supported by the European Union. Intellectuals, artists, politicians, religious leaders, and professional grenade launchers try to stop the marriage from happening, despite the fact that same-sex marriage is technically permitted by the country's Constitution, which the Prime Minister signed according to a mandate from the EU. This provocative, politically incorrect performance poses the question: “Is sexual liberation possible in the Balkans?”

Member Reviews (23)


Confusing, Ambitious, Edgy, Disappointing, Dizzying
Avg Score

Slow, Edgy, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if Disjointed effort to shed light on gay Kosovo political scene Language is a stumbling block w/poorly illuminated subtitles Cast is spirited

Don't see it if Needs a more powerful dramatic punch than burlesque style can provide Critique of EU's economic leverage good but underdeveloped Finale A+

Personable, Episodic, Eastern european, Queer, Educational

See it if you are interested in experiencing a theatricalized take on the emergence of queer life in a Balkan country.

Don't see it if you want a play: this is a series of vignettes staged as a floor show.

Also I enjoyed “55 SHADES OF GAY.” It taught me many things about the emerg... Read more Read less

Relevant, Quirky, Dizzying, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you would like a taste of the life faced by those in Eastern European countries in these challenging times. Good acting and singing non-stop

Don't see it if you are bothered reading superscripts to understand what is being said or you find more than an hour on a tight folding chair difficult.

Dated, Quirky, Intense, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you loved Vietnam War protest theater. Ironic & loud using absurd actions & statements to make obvious points. Well done for what it is.

Don't see it if any of the above bothers you.

Experimental satire, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Edgy, Great singing

See it if From Kosovo, an experimental satire of same-sex marriage rights w/ singing. The plight of the Albanian homosexual gets short shrift today.

Don't see it if Battalions are sent to Syria, but the social problems of Kosovo are ignored.Some broken english, but Albanian valiant effort w/ superscripts

Experimental, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Confusing

See it if You're interested in LGBTQ rights somewhere other than the US. You like experimental theater and theater from across the pond. Great acting.

Don't see it if You want a cohesive linear story and don't want to read supertitles as their accents are quite strong. You don't like LGBTQ stories.

Committed, Experimental, Heartfelt, Burlesque take, 70s agit prop

See it if throwback 2 experimental theatre as it once was, primer on gay rights in Albania, humorous take on imposition of values 2 gain E.U. status

Don't see it if no interest in gay issues, fear supertitles & translation, need polished production values, offended by sexual imagery & issues

Confusing, Thought-provoking, Dizzying, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy experimental theatre presenting the LGBTQ POV in the European Union, It ain't all that it looks like. Very poignant but difficult

Don't see it if shows spoken mostly in Albanian or the language of Kosovo with titles that lag and weird staging and effects. It goes over the top

Relevant, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You like performance art, want to support theater from Kosovo and support artists who have high hurdles to jump to present their work

Don't see it if You are expecting an American style polished work. You would be offended by discussions / depictions of gay sex, or totalitarianism.

Quirky, Raunchy, Dizzying, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You’re interested in LGBTQ rides in a foreign country and don’t mind reading a superscript to understand the actors

Don't see it if If you have limited interest in the LBGTQ Community or annoyed by reading a superscript

Ambitious, Excruciating, Dizzying, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if Experimental; Albania gay themes; chaos, randomness; colorful sets;

Don't see it if disorder; too much subtitle reading for scenes in Albanian thereby missing the acting (which was subpar); too much smoke; screaming

Great staging, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you support experimental (community) theater with int'l/political lgbt theme. The staging is interesting but the story telling- confusing.

Don't see it if you prefer linear, clear & traditional plots. Also if you just want to be entertained & not to analyze the material or deal w/ lgbt issues.

Relevant, Insipid, Bombastic, Heatfelt, Ambitious

See it if to experience a sincere, heartfelt cast and production from Kosovo concerning LGBTQ issues in Kosovo.

Don't see it if Unless it's important for you to experience a radical political play that is an outcry by a severely oppressed LGBTQ population first hand.

Enchanting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you like inventive, quick paced with a great cast

Don't see it if you want a play that is clear, this leaves much to your inner mind.

Intense, Edgy, Dizzying, Ambitious

See it if You are interested learning about how difficult gay life is in Kosovo. Or a play that must be shocking beyond belief in Kosovo.

Don't see it if You have difficulty sitting in a cramped folding chair for 70 minutes. dont mind a play requiring subtitles, angry songs, too bright light

Relevant, Funny, Great staging, Confusing, Clever

See it if you enjoy stories about LGBTQ rights. You like experimental theatre.

Don't see it if you find it annoying reading subtitles. You don't like plays in another language.

Thought-provoking, Intense, Edgy, Dizzying

See it if You are looking for an intense show with serious themes. At times overwhelming with its consistently depressing themes

Don't see it if Could have used an uplifting or even slightly upbeat scene. The subtitles with offensive phrases got to me by the end of it.

Disappointing, Funny, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if The show is done in a narrative style and has an interesting point of view about gay repression. There are some funny moments.

Don't see it if The show repeats itself over and over saying the same thing to the point of boredom. I didn’t hate it but I certainly didn’t love it either.

Confusing, Great singing, Indulgent, Edgy, Disappointing

See it if You like experimental theater with a lot of singing. You are interested in stories about gay marriage abroad. Very talented cast.

Don't see it if You like linear stories or a clear plot; you don't like hearing foreign languages. There were a lot of bizarre parts and it was a bit messy.

Intense, Ambitious, Confusing, Dizzying, Edgy

See it if Experimental, gay, colorful characters, cross dressing, foreign language

Don't see it if Reading Subtitles, poor story flow, accents, avante garde

Delightful, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You like witty dialogue, good singing, and an international theme.

Don't see it if You’re uptight and uncomfortable with transgender and gay themes.

Offensive, Insipid, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You want to see offensive stereotypes of gay people from a straight white man and straight actors & feel like having your safety threatened

Don't see it if You are part of any marginalized community, especially The Gays

Disappointing, Confusing, Slow

See it if I have no idea, I left in the middle

Don't see it if Your English is not perfect The actors speak with the stooong accent, hard to understand

March 15th, 2019
"With a running time of 70 minutes, this brisk burlesque-infused play tracks the progress and problems of a male gay couple...Equal parts peep show and politics, the play burns hot (fuchsia) unapologetically...'55 Shades' electrifies what could have been an otherwise important-but-familiar 'fight...
read more
March 13th, 2019
“Costume elements, personifications of inanimate objects, and abstract blocking hark unapologetically back to the 20th-century theatrical avant-garde. But filtered through an unfamiliar culture, the spectacle feels mostly fresh, and all heartfelt. One can only marvel at the effort and dedication ...
read more
March 12th, 2019
"Equal parts flamboyant exaggeration and furious indignation, '55 Shades of Gay' is a jumble of styles, languages, and music...An interesting piece of theatrical experimentation. The five Kosovar actors, particularly the lovelorn Tristan Halilaj, manage to present nicely drawn characterizations (...
read more
March 13th, 2019
"Laugh-out-loud comedy...The play’s universal message of overcoming bigotry and fighting for equality is relevant whether in Kosovo, or…Kentucky!...The play tickles and titillates the audience with its colorful, multi-media mix of bawdy dialogue, music, burlesque, and visual projections– all imbu...
read more

Related content