Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Corpus Christi", controversial passion play by Terrence McNally, has performance canceled at a Texas college

The Fort Worth Star Telegram has a disturbing story about the cancellation of a performance of Terrence McNally’s “Corpus Christi” at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas recently. The story, by Greg Trainor, is here.  The play was said to be a class project, and this performance was said to be somewhat abbreviated.

Terrence McNally wrote “Corpus Christi is a play about God's unconditional love for all men and women, even those who would prevent you from seeing it.. Gay men and women have taken their place at the table of faith, and they are not giving up their seats to anyone. I am proud the students at Tarleton State University wanted to perform my play; I am saddened the administration chose not to support them.”

I saw the play in Minneapolis in 2002 near the University of Minnesota campus (Gray Space Theater, Cedar Riverside Peoples’ Center), directed by Bryan Cole, with Stephen Frethem as Josh, the Christ character, who sometimes (like the young Clark Kent in “Smallville”) yearns to be “normal” rather than the Son of God. There is a “disco-like” scene later, and the final crucifixion “shows all”, and I can understand how some people are “offended” by the “concept(s)” of the play (especially if performed at a “public” university). Wikipedia also characterizes one scene as a gay marriage between two apostles performed by Jesus.

MidNightRider has an earlier YouTube video about the anticipated Stephenville production before the cancellation.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture from downtown Corpus Christi Texas where the playwright was raised (he was born in Florida).

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