Monday, July 18, 2011

Theater People: BEWARE


For some ridiculous reason, I have been known to subscribe to a superfluous number of homeschool email lists over the past few years. I've gradually unsubscribed to most but there was one in particular that I'd continued to receive mostly because there was one particular activity that someone would occasionally email about which I had been interested, once upon a before leukemia time. So I guess I never bothered to unsubscribe for fear that one day I might be interested in this class again and I'd never know about it otherwise.

I never read these emails. I just delete them.

But last week one popped up that was titled "theater". Being a "theater person" (I recently made the decision to audition for a show, again, finally, and this will take place in September... stay tuned) I clicked on it to see what was going on. Were there some cool theater classes being offered to kids? Did someone need a theater teacher (yes please!)? Nope, some mother wanted some advice on how to get her 13 year old son involved with theater. Fine. But in the second, and final, sentence, she proceeds to say that she is concerned about the "types" of people (she added the quotation marks, not me) to whom he'd be exposed in the theater.

Now, people, I'm not easily offended. I'm really not. You can tell me my breath stinks, that you don't care for my blog, my chocolate, my personality, the holes in my long skirt... it's all good. I can handle it. But this? This email just rubbed me the wrong way.

First of all, exactly to what "types" of people was she referring? Creative? Expressive? Hard working? Interesting? Smart? Funny? Passionate? Inventive? Colorful?

I happen to know a lot of theater people. I would even call myself a theater person. And while there are creeps and jerks in the theater just like in every other place on EARTH, there are some truly amazing folks in the theater as well. Some of the best people I've ever known were or are theater people. Falling in love with the theater and it's people was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I attribute so many of my good qualities to having been involved with theater... not only as an actor but as a writer, director, stage hand, costumer, etc. I've done it all. And it was all WONDERFUL and I can't wait to get back there.

But let's face it... everyone knows, whether you are in the theater or not, that there is a preconceived notion of there being a lot of homosexuals involved with the theater. So, if I had to venture a guess, that's probably what she was "concerned" about.

And this is what I have to say about that.

First of all, just because a person is gay doesn't mean they are going to be flaunting it all over creation... especially when they are working. Especially when they are working with children. Especially when they are working with children in Middle Tennessee. Being gay doesn't make you an idiot. Chances are, a child who isn't familiar with homosexuals will most likely never ever know that the people with whom they are working, in the theater or otherwise, are homosexuals.

Second of all, homosexuality isn't contagious. It just isn't. So your precious child will not "become gay" if he or she works with one or twenty in the theater... or at a karate studio... or on the baseball field.

Thirdly, all people involved with the theater aren't gay. They really aren't. It might seem that way when you read books by Tina Fey or when you watch "glee" or whatever, but really, there are gay people everywhere. Not just in the theater. Perhaps gay people are attracted to the theater because they feel accepted and loved there. But my guess is that straight people are attracted to the theater for the very same reason.

And lastly, REALLY lady? This list to which you posted your inquisition was not labeled "Highly conservative Christian Homeschooling"... it's just a general homeschool group. Do you think that it's impossible that there might be some gay people reading this list? Don't you know that gay people have children and homeschool them? Or that homeschool parents have gay moms or dads or brothers or sisters or aunts or uncles or friends or neighbors? Did it not occur to you that your remark, your question, your "quotation marks" might hurt someone in the heart?

I hope that her child enjoys the theater. That he is able to find an outlet with which both he and his mom happen to be comfortable. I hope that if he becomes involved with the theater that he will be loved and accepted not just in spite of but because of his talent. And if this child himself happens to be gay, I hope that his mom will learn to love him and treat him with more respect than she treated every theater person in the Middle Tennessee area when she made her thoughtless remark.

And for the record, I unsubscribed from the list.



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