CMU School of Drama

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Why LGBT Theatre Needs to Start Telling New Stories

Exeunt Magazine: This month there’s a modest glut of LGBT theatre: marking both Pride and 50 years since the decriminalisation of male homosexual acts. But ironically for an industry that people cheerfully say is “run by gays”, the shows on offer don’t suggest that the theatre world is wildly clued up on LGBT+ or queer politics.


Mirah Kozodoy said...

I think this article does a good job of not buying into the myth that having one or two plays about white gay men solves the problems of LGBT representation, or lack thereof, in theater. Plays that are currently being put on, despite their focus on a homosexual relationship, often are written by white men, and are rarely by women or people of color. The article discusses the need for plays that do not carry the same message about being queer that plays from the 20th century did. The author mentions plays like Angels in America by Tony Kushner, that suggest that homosexuality is automatically paired with self-hatred and being hidden. Though those associations are, in my opinion, valid and should not be disregarded, there is a very real need for LGBT theater and literature, in general, that portrays queer people as functioning human beings and able to have normal and healthy lives. These portrayals show the world that even queer people associate their sexual orientation with unhappiness and I do not think that this message is a particularly good one to broadcast to the world. The article does a thorough and impressive job of calling attention to a major problem in the LGBT community.

Jack Desmarais-Harris said...

Theater often tells a story, usually inspired by something that happens, or exists in the real world. However, in the very nature of our society lies assumptions, stereotypes, and theater, movies, shows, etc. attempt to tackle these issues with characters of varying socially significant identities. Although, these forms of media are still platforms of entertainment, so writers and directors need to find a way to both hold an audience, and get their message across. Recently, the idea of being gay has become more and more accepted by society, but that does not mean the LGBTQ+ community is full represent and respected yet. As the article states, most "LGBT theater" stars gay white males, most likely because a black gay man is TOO different, and could affect sales. Women, straight or homosexual, transsexuals, bisexual men or women, based on the stats, aren't writing as many plays. What ends up happening is these big steps towards equity for every person become less effective because people are getting complacent because "gay is on Broadway, and that's good enough." but it's not. This is just the first step.