Two hockey fans (one a playwright the other a director), Liza Birkenmeier and Katie Brooks, new play “Islander” examines modern masculinity through the troubles and tribulations of the New York Islanders 2017-18 season.
You know, the year the Islanders opted for the “we dare you to outscore us” approach? And basically, everyone did as the Isles finished with a 35-37-10 record and 80 points. A full 17 points out of the playoffs with star player John Tavares nearing unrestricted free agency. It was also the year of the billboard demanding GM Garth Snow to be fired, and the year where Snow and coach Doug Weight struck a very defiant stance during the end-of-year press conference.
The play is less a look at the Islanders and more using the Isles as a vehicle to examine modern masculinity.
Play examines modern masculinity through New York Islanders 2017-18 season
Sure, the play focuses on the Islanders rough 2017-18 season. (and boy was it rough.) But the play leans into Isles fans having an absolute meltdown during that year after our team failed to build off the progress they made in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
The play will certainly be uncomfortable for some of us. Specifically the white-male audience (such as myself).
Hockey culture is in need of some change and white males make up a large portion of the sports fanbase. We need to get uncomfortable in the culture of this sports fanbase in order to take some steps forwards and truly make this game for everyone.
What better way to have that conversation than through a semi-satirical look at the sport, its fans, and the culture surrounding it all? I think this is a great idea and a great concept for a play about this sport.
The play opened this Saturday and runs until September 4th at the HERE Arts Center in New York.