losing the audience

I know that I’ve probably already lost my audience for this blog, and there’s probably no worse thing to tell me about something that I do, but this is just how it’s worked out. At this point in my life, I still haven’t figured out how to have a private life and a public life, I just haven’t figured out the balance. And this show I’m producing has the slightest ability to be a public experience, and for that I feel like silence is my best option.

We have written a musical that we are really proud of. It’s subversive, it’s tight and it’s meaningful. It’s funny and it’s outrageous. Now, we have to see if we can go through the re-writing process and keep it as all of these things. Initially, we had some ideas about these characters, we wanted to subvert the common thinking about so many of these people, and now we’re having to trade in on some of that.

At the center of our play are characters dealing with ideas of sexual identity and gender. We initially had a wonderful idea, that we would create a character who was fully Christian and unapologetically gay, a man who believes in Jesus but loves men. Such a man not only exists, but most of my gay friends are a thousand times more in tune with their spirituality than I am, I didn’t think we were creating a character that was impossible to believe in.

But now we have a chance for this character to be seen by the world, and there is some concern that the world isn’t ready for him. No-one in the gay community wants spirituality to be defined as “Christ” and no-one in the straight community wants to hear the word “Cock” celebrated. The great blue/red divide has come home to our little play.

So, we’ve found new ways to say these things. Sexuality can be celebrated with tongue in cheek jokes and reminders to use condoms. Spirituality can be celebrated, as long as its non-denominational and, in fact, judea-islamo-christo-tarot-non-specifico spirituality. I don’t think we’re being cowards, I think the larger points of the show will be heard if we keep Jesus and Fellatio out of the same sentence.

I’m just sad because we aren’t giving the world the character that could be there. A completely Christian, completely gay leader of men. George Bush, who happens to love men. Andrew Sullivan. A moral man who doesn’t look at sex as a moral issue, just a physical issue.

Now, a broad comedy that’s going up as part of a downtown festival might not be the place for this character… but if not here, then where? We’ve got a long life ahead of us, we’re gonna make a lot of characters, as actors and writers and producers, and this is a chance for us to be heard. There’s just a part of me that wishes we could be as obnoxious as possible…