Terrence McNally’s ”Gay Jesus Play” Feature Documentary is now available on iTunes!
Breaking Glass Pictures just released Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption, a feature documentary focusing on Terrence McNally’s controversial off-Broadway play “Corpus Christi,” which imagines Jesus as a gay man living in Corpus Christi, Texas. The documentary follows the troupe, Terrence, and audience around the world on a 5-year journey, where voices of protest and support collide on one of the central issues facing the LGBT community: religion.
The play originally opened at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1998 to intense protest and bomb threats. Terrence McNally is a four-time Tony Award winning playwright, famous for Broadway hits Ragtime, Master Class, and Love! Valour! Compassion!
“Playing with Redemption and the I AM Love Campaign add a new dimension to the conversation that my play continues to provoke, and I look forward to CORPUS CHRISTI starting many more conversations around the country.” - Terrence McNally
Gia On The Move had the opportunity to preview this film before its release. Here’s what caught us off guard:
It wasn’t what we thought.
There may always be inflammatory reaction on subject matter concerning gays and religion…although it seems even the Vatican is changing its mind as of this past week on the issue of what the LGBT community has to offer to the Church.
But this movie brings up the most important issue of all — perspective. One of the biggest drivers of this film is how everyone’s idea of God and the play is shifted throughout the experience. Even some of the cast members, both Christians and Jews were resistant to the material, no matter if they grew up rigidly religious or claimed they had no connection to God at all.
Theatre comes out of ritual just like religion.
McNally discusses the sacred moments…things like growing up and being an alter boy…what being a Catholic really meant to him. What was most upsetting throughout his life is that gay men and women could live good moral Christian lives, but were still being rejected. There was a lot of learning by the cast about the Passion Play. The short version: just like theatre there has to be truth and that is what has to connect us.
We know what it’s about so we don’t need to know every last word.
Much more intriguing are the dialogs that cast members had with people in multiple cities and countries who fervently protested the play without having read the script. And how when questioned, nicely, some of these persons actually realized that they were making judgements about something they didn’t know anything about. What was getting in the way of the humanity, was the ideological/emotion attachment.
You hate what you don’t understand and what you are not willing to look at. But is it really ok anymore to say that it’s ok to agree to disagree?
He thought it was a play that was going to vanish. Terrance was wrong…Hellacrazy!
The play initially felt like a train wreck and no one wanted to even invite their friends. But they started rehearsing and it became something else. Something special.
The protests were based on something that wasn’t true: felacio, sex acts and etc that never happened on stage. But Manhattan Theatre Club nevertheless cancelled the production because of the bomb threats and People for the American Way getting involved. It brought up how thin the scab of homophobia was and how easily it could be picked off. “You can’t get rid of the things you were very carefully taught.”
History is sort of repeating itself.
Corpus Christi deeply challenges the audience on the issue of prejudice much in the same way this country (USA) was challenged during the Civil Rights era when people simply made the assumption that whites and blacks should not mingle, sit in the front of the bus, learn in the same schools, play in the same playgrounds, etc.
You’ll never believe what happened next!
God Hates Homosexuality God Hates You
They finally went to Texas on tour in 2010. For the cast it was like going into the Heart of Darkness, endangering people by taking the play to the south, where “they take their Jesus very serious there.”
On opening night, however, there was not a single protester even after weeks of outcry. [Wow!]
Of course, the issues of God and righteousness are powerful ones, but Corpus Christi goes out of its way not to defend itself. It merely tells a story. And in the most off-handed of ways, it sets out to do what we’ve been told Jesus himself actually set out to do: embrace all (ostracized) persons into an understanding of a faith and a God they had been told had rejected them and to include all people, no matter what or who they were how they lived or what they did, as “children of God.” Because…All [men] are divine.
In a phrase…
It’s a warm and fuzzy film, with profound moments, downplaying the hoopla in the hope of sparking a human connection. Forget the material. JUST GO THERE!
Get it on iTunes, today!