Bringing 'Corpus Christi' to Dallas

RECEIVED Wed., April 28, 2010

Dear Editor,
    I am the director of the production of Corpus Christi, which will be coming to Dallas in a few weeks. We have been certainly hesitant about bringing the show to Texas as we had no idea what the reception would be but assumed the worst. After the events recently with the show in the region of Dallas, we decided to wait no longer and that the show deserves to be seen. Your article [“Point Austin: The Body of Christ,” News, April 23] on the most recent developments and your honest and open-minded description of the show, the playwright, and the politicians really spoke to me and re-energized me as I face the logistics of bringing such a large cast and crew all the way to Texas. I am confident our experience there will be as loving, accepting, and fulfilling as any of the hundreds of performances we've had all over the world these past four years.
    Playwright Terrence McNally, like so many others, was born gay. God does not make mistakes, but his community and religion made him feel that he was just that. He was taught to embrace and love a religion that was interpreted by others in a way that told him he was a sinner and was not worthy. He was reminded daily that his community was not accepting of him. Out of this painful experience, he did not turn bitter and vengeful; instead he wrote Corpus Christi. It is a play that is not only respectful to the source material but is actually an attempt to bring back those who feel tossed aside by religion and back to the table of spirituality. It does not just speak to gay men and women, but to all of us who at one time or another have felt marginalized … we have all been there. This is a play that does not claim that Jesus was gay; it merely tells the story in another way to help people fully comprehend that all men are divine. The fact that people would object to a play about equality and a universal right to be loved is shocking to me. While I understand individuals have the right to believe in Jesus as they have interpreted him, it is a shame that they are unable to open their hearts to allow others to feel worthy.
    As we prepare to bring the show to Dallas, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and the high level of diversity we have uncovered. Shame on me for stereotyping the state. I am embarrassed but delighted to find that it is not at all the Texas I had imagined and avoided for four years and it will be an honor to play the show in your loving and beautiful state.
    Thank you for your wonderful, intelligent review of the situation.
With gratitude,
Nic Arnzen
Director, 108 Productions
Los Angeles
   [Editor's note: Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi is currently scheduled to play the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, June 4-6. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.cathedralofhope.com.]
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