Gay college play cancelled: Terrence McNally's "Corpus Christi" still too hot for Texans

Posted by JD Uy
March 30, 2010 8:38 AM |

''I'm very upset that we had to cancel this. It was a very well-done production. But I could not have lived with myself if someone got hurt.''

Mark Holtorf, teacher for a class on directing at Tarleton State University where a presenters of "Corpus Christi," a play about a gay Christ-like figure, were first forced to change its scheduled time and restrict the audience, but later had to accept defeat as the play was canceled completely. (Star-Telegram)

''Thank you for getting the information about the blasphemous, homosexual play, 'Corpus Christi,' to Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. Please be sure to thank Lt. Gov. Dewhurst for issuing a press release condemning the play. With much appreciation for your support in this matter. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Perry for his behind the scenes work to stop the play at Tarleton State. Ray Sullivan, the Governor's Chief of Staff, was notified of the play on Thursday and after discussing it with the Governor, the necessary steps were taken to ensure that its performance was canceled.''

Taken from a letter by Steven Hotze, President of the Conservative Republicans of Texas, who is making the claim that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Texas helped to shut down the presentation of Corpus Christi, a play by Terrance McNally that reimagines the story of Jesus and his Apostles as gay men. (TexasGOPVote)

''We didn't have specific threats of violence, but we had hundreds of vile, hateful emails and phone calls that got increasingly volatile as the week went on.... We had enough hate spewed our way from Christian believers that the professor took that into consideration.''

Liza Benedict of Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX, where a small, one-time only presentation of "Corpus Christi" was to take place this past weekend. The play was cancelled at the last minute. (KTVT)

''I didn't think it was controversial in this day and age to suggest that Christ and his Apostles could be imagined as gay men. I was naive because I thought the message that we're all created in God's image had been more accepted than it has been. I thought people would at least say, 'Yeah, this world should be about love and acceptance and tolerance, about love of our family and fellow man, and that we all have divinity. And when we recognize the divinity in each other we become truly complete people.' But it was all dismissed as a sacrilegious, dirty blasphemous play. I really didn't see that coming.... The reception to Corpus Christi revealed how much homophobia still exists in polite society.... You can say Christ was a woman, you can say Christ was black but if you suggest that Christ might have been a gay man, then you're suddenly a blasphemer.''

Playwright Terrence McNally speaking with Metro Weekly about his play "Corpus Christi" just before another outbreak of controversy occurred over the same piece at Tarleton State University in Texas. (Metro Weekly)

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