Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The rainbow connection

“Identity’s difficult. I suppose it brings about social cohesion, but it’s not much fun if you don’t quite fit. Being gay, for example, used to be pretty miserable. Or being a Protestant in a place like Ireland when the Catholic Church ruled the roost. Or being a woman in Ireland under the thumb of all those priests. Those big, dominant entities have been weakened, I suppose, but I think that might be a good thing, on balance. It’s allowed other identities to flourish.” – Isabel Dalhousie in Alexander McCall Smith’s The Forgotten Affairs of Youth

Briefs logo by Michael Perkins
The fact that I read this passage the afternoon before the final dress rehearsal for the Vital Voice/That Uppity Theatre Company co-production of Briefs: A Festival of Short Lesbian and Gay Plays (which runs Friday through Sunday, February 24-26) is one of life’s little synchronicities. Ditto the fact that it followed hard on the heels of yet another revelation about Sen. Rick Santorum’s conviction that any divergence from his twisted mockery of Christianity is the work of The Prince of Darkness.

I’ll leave others to deal with the senator's weirdly Freudian politics. I’d like to talk about how that passage resonates with our show.

Because if Briefs is about anything, it’s about the fluidity of identity and the diversity that comes from it.

Some of the characters in our seven plays are gay and lesbian, but others are straight, bi, transgendered, and even figments of other characters’ imaginations. They (and the actors playing them, including yours truly) represent the variety of ages, ethnicities, gender, body types, beliefs, and sexual preferences that is the real hallmark of America. We are and (for most of our history) have been a spectacular spectrum of a nation—a virtual rainbow of humanity.

If America is about anything, it’s about diversity.

And that, no matter what some people will try to tell you, is a good thing. Diversity in nature increases resistance to extinction. Diversity in the workplace leads to smarter teams and better problem solving. Diversity is a source of strength. E pluribus unum.

Briefs plays Friday through Sunday this weekend at Pa Perla, 312 North 8th Street, across from the Old Post Office. The initial run of tickets has sold out, so the producers have added seats for each show. Order yours at and join us in our celebration. There’s a bar, a DJ, and valet parking. And while it might not be obvious, there’s even a rainbow.

1 comment:

guatmom said...

Loved this article! Beautifully written! This said it all for me, "We are and (for most of our history) have been a spectacular spectrum of a nation—a virtual rainbow of humanity." That spoke to my heart! Can't wait to see the show!