Colton Iverson and Richard Johnson in The Twentieth Century Way
Congratulations, Pride attendees! By all accounts, Pride weekend was a huge success. Tens of thousands enjoyed the music festival, parade, parties, and (of course) the endless day-drinking. The corporate sponsors must be so happy to know that so many had such a good time. I must have dodged half a dozen post-party navigational hazards — sidewalk vomit included — on my way to Ion Theatre for The Twentieth Century Way. Nothing says “equality and an end to homophobia” quite like garbage in the streets and drunk, sunburned straight people enjoying an excuse to slip on a tutu and some sequined leggings.
But, I have to wonder, were you Pride-goers having such a good time that you couldn’t have set down the frozen margaritas for the 85 minutes it takes to see a play? I know. It’s hard, especially with Kesha set to take the main stage at Pride. I hear she has a new song about partying super hard! You wouldn’t want to miss Kesha, considering the way she artfully revealed a dark part of 20th-century history that I’m almost 100 percent sure you didn’t know about. She really tried to remind us all that there’s a lot more to Pride than just dressing loud and getting wasted. In fact, if we forget the stories of the few who bravely stood for their rights (people like Herbert Lowe, depicted in the play) when it meant facing a jury of your peers instead of facing a hangover, we are bound to find ourselves in such straits again.
Oops. Silly me. That wasn’t Kesha. That was the play.
You know, The Twentieth Century Way, the play you didn’t pack the house for? The one put on with Pride in mind; with the tour de force acting and the powerful finale?
Okay. No more meanness, though I hope that was hard to hear. I want to point out a contradiction, not just be contradictory. I realize the vital importance of Pride, and that the event includes more than just music and a parade. I’m neither close-minded nor a fool.
Ultimately, It’s amazing that so many people can celebrate the freedom to live lives that were criminalized within the past century.
Of course that’s beautiful and vital. Of course it is.
But, maybe there’s a point where people are just coming to Pride for the party, and it’s easy to forget everything there is to be proud of. Do you want to lose the mission?
Parties are easy. Supporting your local theater — one that has the gall to face some ugly truths about who we are and how we hate — is hard. Please don’t ignore something like Twentieth Century Way because you’re too busy taking a Smirnoff-scented disco nap on a bench. That’s how you lose the mission.
Play's run ended July 24.