The Irascible ProfessorSM

Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today

by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro
The novel is more of a whisper, whereas the stage is a shout...  ...Robert Holman, (London, Oct. 8, 1990)

Commentary of the Day - October 19, 1999:

How to Guarantee a Full House at Your Next Play :

The Irascible Professor sometimes has a hard time believing how stupid some folks are.  Recently, protesters from the Heritage Baptist Church in Kilgore, Texas tried to shut down the production of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America: Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner at Kilgore College.  Apparently, the yahoos from Heritage Baptist were unhappy because the play examines the lives of five gay people who were struggling with the issues of AIDS, relationships, and the meaning of their lives.  To their credit, Kilgore College officials refused to knuckle under to the Baptist knuckle heads.  At least someone in Kilgore has the balls to stand up to the bigots.

The play went on as scheduled, albeit with some toning down of language and the excision of nude scenes.  About 30 people protested the performance.  The protest was peaceful, but hateful.  For example, one Rocky Otwell held up a sign that read "God Hates Fags", which must be what passes for Christian love and charity in parts of east Texas.  How do these idiots know who God loves or why She loves them?

Local politicians threatened to pull $65,000 in funding from the college if the play was performed, and a local lawyer by the name of Glenn D. Phillips bought 150 of the 263 seats in the college theater in an attempt to keep the size of the opening night crowd down.  Now that was a real example of Christian charity, because it allowed the college to give away the seats for free.  And guess what?  They all were filled.  Which brings the Irascible professor to the issue of stupidity.  The Baptist bozos should have realized that the surest way to guarantee an audience for a "controversial" play is to mount a long and loud public protest.  The Irascible Professor is old enough to remember that the lines were around the block to see Jane Russell in The Outlaw when it was placed on the Catholic Church's list of banned books and films.  You can bet that more than half of those folks he saw standing in the cold rain of Boston to see a glimpse Jane's cleavage were of the Roman persuasion, and the Irascible Professor is willing to bet that there were more than a few Baptists in the audience in Kilgore, Texas when Angels in America was performed.


The Irascible Professor invites your comments.
©1999 Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - All rights reserved.