As many of you know, back when I was beautiful, I wanted to be an actor. Well, not a full fledged George Clooney type, but more of a small character actor like Daniel Day Lewis. (I saw this on Twitter, but I can’t remember who said it so I apologize for not being able to properly cite you, but if I meet him I’m totally going to refer to him as “Dan Lewis” like he’s a regular guy. THANK YOU, COMEDY ANGEL!)
The last play I acted in was an Alumni Show for my old High School Theatre program: The Laramie Project, directed by the wonderful R.L. Mirabal. I say “wonderful” because he was, and I say “R.L. Mirabal” because in addition to the fact that he directed it, the people finding my blog goes up because people search for him. That and Breaking Bad Spoilers, and that’s over now.
The point is, that the Laramie Project has a special place in my heart. I acted in it. (I was several characters. We were all several characters.) For those of you who don’t know, the Laramie Project was written in response to the killing of Matthew Shepard. It was written to show that not everyone in the town thought the same as his killers, and helped to show the human side of a small town, which we all tend to group together in the face of a tragedy. We all do it, that’s part of the human condition. Moises Kaufman wanted to show that the town was more than just “the place that Matthew Shepard was killed” and that it’s important that we remember that.
Which is why when I read what happened during a performance at the University of Mississippi I couldn’t see straight. You see, some “helpful” audience members felt a need to disrupt the play, and yell things at the actors on stage. (Some have identified them as members of the football team. If this is the case, it’s sickening, and they won’t really be punished... if you can throw a ball really, really well, we don’t really punish you... but in the long run, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that anyone thought this was ok. And if that’s the case, you’re a bad person, no matter what else you do.)
Some of the things that were yelled I’m not going to repeat. I’ve often railed against how words only have the power we give to them. These particular words were chosen for their power, and in my mind makes it worse.
So, why am I taking a blog that usually covers Science Fiction, literature, and education and am I turning it towards this topic? Because this is something I’m passionate about. Because I remember studying to be in the Laramie Project, and while all of it was necessary, the research was not fun. While I point out that the ultimate message is one of hope - this is a dark play about a dark act. It can NOT be even remotely ok that this happened.
The response from the school has been pretty good, getting in front of it. Apparently someone from the Athletic Association did send a note of apology. The school is sending the audience members to some special talk where they discuss diversity and hopefully basic manners that these people’s parents didn’t feel a need to impart on them.
Every once in a while I do see a story that makes me mad. That I do want to write about but I do try to keep these posts light. The rest of the week, we’ve got light posts. Next week, we’ve got light posts, and some cool things down the road. But I just needed to talk about this. Maybe to get it out of my system. Maybe just to take about it for a minute to express my outrage on my forum. But the fact that anyone thinks this ok just blows my mind. What thought process could you possibly have that would make you think this is ok?
Seriously, if you’re that much against something... anything... then don’t go. The big reminder that Mirabal gave us constantly that the people int his play were real people, and we needed to remember that and play them as such. The actors who were performing this play are real people... and need to be treated as such. That anyone thinks otherwise is a huge failing in something. To the people who did this... I hope you learned something. Ultimately, I doubt it.
We will return you to your more light hearted posts tomorrow, I promise. Just needed a day of catharsis.