Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Curtain Incident: A Study in Prejudice.

I was very close to a recent situation that helped me get a small glimpse into what it might be like to experience discrimination.

The situation involves a gay man acting in community theater with what is otherwise a group of straight actors. By all accounts, everyone got along fine and the cast really gelled as the production moved along. Also involved were several evangelical Christians, including the producer and the director.

You have an idea of what is coming next, don't you?

It was the final showing of opening weekend when The Curtain Incident occurred.

Actually, it wasn't a curtain, but an old blanket. By pure oversight, the production team had neglected to factor in that there would be middle-aged men changing their clothes backstage in the vicinity of 10- to 13-year-old prop girls. By the third show, the producer and director decided to pin up an old blanket behind which the men could strip to their skivies in relative private.

The mere hanging of this curtain/blanket caused an uproar when the gay man refused to go behind it and said that he was personally offended that a curtain would be put up.

After two or three confrontations over the curtain raised concerns for the show's future, the producer took the man aside to see what was bothering him. The conversation went something like this:

Producer: "I hope there isn't anything we have done to offend you, but if there is, I hope we could talk about it."

Actor: "There is. I am personally offended by that curtain. This is theater, you don't bring religion into it."

Producer(apologetic): I am sorry, I am confused; what does religion have to do with this?"

Actor: "Look, I am not an idiot; I know that you go to that (name deleted) church where everybody is in the same little box and you have to be a Christian. This is theater, you don't need to teach kids that there is anything about the human body to be ashamed of. This is theater, this is theater, this is theater..."

So what do you think about my little story? Did it turn out the way you expected?


jon said...


Ugly Naked Guy said...

Aw, you're no fun. I was trying to fool you! :)

jon said...

I would have too, but I recently saw a similar circumstance play out.

Incognito said...

Interesting... I wonder if, somehow, consciously or unconscioulsy, he was turning the tables on what he feels is a religion that hates and reviles him and his kind.

Pretty stupid though, considering it had nothing to do with religion but rather propriety... had the prop people not been kids, I'm sure there would have been no need for a blanket.. although in most professional theatres they have dressers for each sex, for the quick changes, and usually somewhere you can dress backstage for those who are more modest.

In this last show we had a gay older man, who I would never have thought gay, who was the sweetest person in the cast. With his partner for 30 years.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Oh, I am sure that is what was happening. The ironic thing is that we all liked him and treated him with the utmost kindness. He didn't know that he was among Christians until someone from his work told him. All of a sudden it seemed that he had to find something that they did to "push religion on him."

Essentially, HE stereotyped the Christians and was, shall we say, Christophobic?