Out & Allied
"If tough guys wear pink do they stop and think why someone like
me is such a threat to their masculinity? Tough guys are usually the
gay bashers, dripping our blood on the cold concrete when inside their
thoughts and emotions leave them incomplete? Why must I be beaten in
the back streets, where every walk home is trick or treat? What is it
that makes you a man? Is it part of God's plan?..."
In 2015 I attended a conference on advocating for LGBTQ students
in schools. For me the highlight of the conference was a session on
theater as a means of consciousness raising. We watched a group do
two pieces. Then we were split into groups to do improvs. I was a
sexist coach/teacher discrediting a student's claims of sexual
harassment and yearning for the good old days when this stuff didn't
Theater, whether scripted or improv, seems to be a perfect venue
for raising awareness. For the audience it can be a relatively safe
way of gaining insight. For actors it can be a means of expressing
self or walking in the shoes of those on the other side. For both
groups after production guided discussion can be satisfying and
"True, but where to begin?" you may be thinking. I have good
news. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Outside & Allied: An
Anthology of Performance Pieces by LGBTQ Youth and Allies (I read the
first volume; I know there is at least a second) gives readers a very
clear road map to stage success.
The biggest part of the book consists of actual pieces. They
range from traditional dialogue oriented scripts to poetry. Many have
specific directions for actions and staging. In the acknowledgements
we are assured that they have been field tested and performed.
There is also a very comprehensive guide to moving from book to
stage. It covers from auditioning and casting through rehearsels to
post performance discussions. There are also good suggestions for
writing original material and a wonderful list of helpful organizations.
I'd suggest starting with scripts and then going on to write
your own material or go improv. I also see this format as a way of
shedding light on the other isms that make so many the other in our
society: racism, religious intolerance, sexism, classicism,
ageism... You will only be limited by your imagination and
willingness to take chances.
On a personal note, for me each year the stretch of time from Advent
through the first days of January is a mini sabbatical. While other
people speed up to shop, send cards, decorate, entertain, I focus on
the meaning of the season and being present for those I love. Just
call me a seasonal slacker. I always end this time period rested,
inspired, and ready to take on the world or at least Penobscot county.
A great big shout out goes out to all the companions, human and
otherwise, who add so much to my life!
Sent from my iPod