Friday, November 25, 2011

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We held our fifth (and likely final) public reading of Rights of Passage a few weeks ago. As per usual, our ensemble of 8 actors led by director Arturo Catricala were stunning. The packed house shared their views pro and con. Always so interesting to hear what resonates with one person and not the other. The true nature of art – subjective. Now it really is time to finish tinkering with the script, jump into pre-production mode and raise the money for the world premiere at NCTC next August. Only 50K more needed!

Our intense focus on stories of global LGBT equality for the play also serves as a reminder for us to keep an eye on things closer to home. Recently, I joined our YouthAware troupe to watch them perform OUTSPOKEN for about 400 teens and their teachers at Johansen High School in Modesto, CA. The play has been touring Northern California for several years to give voice to stories about adolescents grappling with identity, homophobia, religion, family, class, culture, politics and raging hormones. All that in 40 minutes followed by a 20 minute interaction with cast. The facile young actors in our troupe led by director Sara Staley delivered the goods with abundant talent and truth - the students in the audience were riveted.

Modesto is located in the Central Valley of California only about 90 minutes or so from San Francisco. Yet, fear and stigma around the differences among us reigns supreme in this region. Not just sexual orientation (although that’s a big elephant in the room) but pretty much anything that makes a person distinctive.

As I sat among the teens in the audience, it occurred to me it’s the same the world over. The questions that wrestle with understanding human nature are essentially the same and have been so for centuries. Makes you wonder if we’ll ever simply accept that we are all a part of the whole. You shouldn’t ever have to venture far from home to understand something so obvious.

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