A Bob Greene Rant
It’s a new world, Golde, a new world …. love.
This line from Fiddler on the Roof was meant to garner laughs, but there and now, nearly a generation into the 21st Century, it can be that much more pungent.
The homosexual character on stage and screen is starting to mature. We see relationships in plays, films, and television becoming de rigueur in general plots; gay-marriage also is simply written in and not a political hot spot. But the biggie is now villains and murders are gay. That’s gotta mean something!
David Beck is the creator of Spring Street – The Webseries, premiering on a mobile device or computer near you this March. It is the first major project under his company The Great Griffon, which aims to shatter gender and LGBTQ stereotypes. His new on-stage reading series Seeking the Queer Voice, tells identifiable stories of the human condition. The premiere reading is The Phillie Trilogy, winner of the Scrap Mettle Arts Inaugural Playwrights Program Competition last year, written by celebrated playwright Doug Devita.
Phillie follows Philip McDougal, through three interconnecting stories … actions of the priests and nuns entrusted with our education; the taunting of schoolmates; parental suspicions; or the realization that a best friend since childhood may not be the person thought to be … we learn of Philip’s journey discovering his sexuality. The Phillie Trilogy by Doug DeVita, directed by James Phillip Gates will be presented at 13th Street Repertory Theater at 8:00 p.m. with an informal meet & greet following the reading. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. RSVP to email@example.com as space is limited.
Producer and playwright weighed in on what it means to be a gay character today.
Today, with the rise of white supremacy, stories that reflect the discrimination against the LGBTQ community are crucial, but isn’t reflecting the LGBTQ community as every day humans going through universal struggles a more powerful way of changing others’ mindset? In truth, we are all human beings and we are going on the same journey. The Great Griffon aims to highlight what we have in common.
What is a gay character today, anyway? Sexuality, both onstage and off, is just one part of the incredibly complex human condition; onstage it has the added advantage of helping tell the story the playwright wants to tell. In the late 60s the men in Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking The Boys In The Band were defined by their bitchy gayness, but even a cursory reading reveals characters who are in pain, trapped by the convention of their era and desperately trying to survive by any means possible, just like everyone else in the late 60s (and 70s, 80s, 90s,); by the early 80s, Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy portrayed the protagonist, Arnold Beckoff, as simply a human being who happens to be gay, living his life and looking for the same thing everyone else wants – love and acceptance – with humor and profound heart. The importance of Fierstein’s brilliant work in establishing gay characters on stage as “normal” (whatever that is) in every respect, and the affect both of these plays have had ever since, is often overlooked these days; it is doubtful that without either of these works, what used to be termed “gay theater” would have morphed into what it is and should be: just “Theater.” And given what is happening in this country right now, it is vitally important that “gay characters” continue to be written simply as “characters.” Just like you, me, and the GOP.