Sunday, February 21, 2010

Show #8 "6 Dance Lessons in 6 Weeks" at Tacoma Little Theatre

Nobody ever said that life had to be fair.

And certainly, nobody has ever said that theatre must be fair. But, when I see a show whose playwright obviously has a political or social axe to grind, I can't help but notice if there is any sense at all of "fair play" in his/her writing.

Tacoma Little Theatre just closed one of their second stage productions of Richard Alfieri's "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks." The reasons why this show was produced was obvious.

First, this seemed like a tailor-made vehicle for actors Sharry O'Hare and husband Micheal O'Hara. And second, this was a perfect way to celebrate and honor Sharry O'Hare's 50 years performing in Tacoma theatre.

But what was also obvious were the attempts Alfieri makes to vigorously tug at the audience's heartstrings. It was also as plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face what his social views were on prejudice and intolerance.

Mind you, I am not a big fan of prejudice and intolerance, either. But when a writer creates a character who climbs up on his soap box to tell us how he has suffered due to negative stereotypes about gay people (he is gay) but spends the rest of the play indulging in his own negative stereotypes about "his oppressors" (in this case, a deceased Baptist minister), I cry foul.

And as a Christian who has spent much of her adult life attending Baptist churches, I do not appreciate the playwright's angry suggestions that Christian ministers are bible-thumping, bigoted homophobes. I cry foul enough times to make an entire NBA team foul out of the game.

I love the LORD Jesus Christ and I do not judge members of the gay community, nor does any other member of my congregation. I vote my conscience, not simply along party lines, I never listen to conservative talk radio, and I count among my friends persons who are gay, lesbian and bi-sexual.

I am sorry, Mr. Alfieri, but "tolerance" is a two-way street. A stereotype is a stereotype.

And as for the fine folks at the Tacoma Little Theatre, this show was not my cup of tea, but I applaud you for putting on such a tender and otherwise uplifting story. I only wish Mr. Alfieri's bitter intolerance wasn't so sugar-coated.

But that isn't your fault. You didn't know I am giving up sugar for Lent.

Graphics courtesy of Tacoma Little Theatre

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