Tonight after President Bush’s State of the Union Address, I premiered The Re-Education of George W. Bush here in Portland, Oregon. The audience was comprised of some VERY serious peace activists, a generous sprinkling of gay men and a few college-age students.
No doubt I felt anxious, not about remembering my lines (or Vlad’s killer dance moves–they actually wanted an encore). No, I felt anxious about the script itself and the issues that I raise. In addition to talking about war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I brought up a load of issues indirectly and directly.
- Racism in America and white male power and privilege–particularly the privilege many of us have to live without seeing racism or knowing that it really still exists.
- The Environment and the personal impact to make a difference. (Get rid of your car! Stop eating meat and dairy products!)
- Sexism in the Bible and the world.
- The slippery slope of anti-gay legislation in Nazi German and parallels to the US.
- The ways we treat strangers, aliens and outsiders among us, and how America seems to pay much more attention to enemies than to friends.
- Health care, dismal health care.
I actually left out a section about the economy because I didn’t want it to get too long or wonky. People seemed to really connect with it though and with the guests I included. Marvin charmed them in spite of being so very contrary at times. In fact, he presented some of the deepest truths of the piece. How can we stand in the presence of God and a man is dying right in front of us and we don’t even know it?
Overall, the piece seemed to have been a success. I was happy with the script and the characters and the energy. The flow worked well and I got to unearth some key issues for US citizens to consider. I also pushed myself to be more personal and present than in any other show.
AND I got to say and demonstrate that Change is Possible. Actually Marvin brought this up first about his conversion into a former homosexual, but I followed through and talked about how I changed from a Born-Again, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Conservative Republican Christian whatever it is that I am becoming–hopefully more and more human.
Human–That is not a liberal or a conservative thing. We all can practice oppression, intolerance and violence regardless of our politics. I see violence on all sides and it is ugly all around (and often non-effectual). I guess it is about love and respect and listening. That reveals so much more to me about someone’s morality than who they marry.
Now very tired and spent, I go to bed. Tomorrow, I present Queer 101–Now I know my gAy,B,Cs for the local queer youth/young adult group. (I hear they can be a tough crowd. But that is what I like about teens; they know crap and insincerity when they see it and are usually not afraid to say it.)