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Sometimes they mean more than you know …
The relevance of any work of art can be very subjective. That’s obvious, despite how some may try to make it a universal thing. Not to be to cliched, but one man’s trash and all that …
At Jobsite, we always hold plays up to the relevancy test – after all it’s mission-based for us. Jobsite was created in order to do “politically and socially relevant theater.” Sometimes though plays mean more than what we intentionally set out to do, and that’s quickly become the case with Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.
I saw a tremendous amount of potential in this script after my first read. It’s accessible and in some ways comfortable, using characters most of us are familiar with in some way and turning it on its head. It’s very, very funny in a generally crowd-pleasing, if bawdy, sort of way. The themes in the show are timely, true and important. It’s not just about being gay or not being gay, but about acceptance from one’s peers, finding one’s self and even self-acceptance.
Bullying in all forms is not just contained behind the walls of high schools. It’s still on university campuses, workplaces, night clubs and on the street. I stated over at the Creative Loafing site that I couldn’t buy their critic’s harsh “Dear Pen Pal: What Else Is New” snide tag when we live in a world that still refuses to be accepting of differences. A world that lacks true equality for its citizenry.
Perhaps what I have been most surprised about to this point is the number of people – both gay and straight, men and women – who have either talked to me after seeing the show or who have sent things on to us via our website, social media or via a cast member thanking us for bringing this show to the stage, and either helping them heal or bring to light problems that have affected them.
I asked one person in particular if it would be possible to share their words with our fans. Here it goes. This is unedited by me or anyone, and is only one of the stories I have heard since we began performances last Wednesday:
Honestly, the show left me crying. The roles were amazingly done and I thank the cast for every moment on the stage, even the ones I turned my eyes from because I couldn’t bring myself to look at something I deal with daily, in my own self-loathing way. During Beethoven’s tirade on, “So, what makes me gay?”, I lost it. Though I’m gay and understand stereotypes, I’m not effeminate. So when I came out, I wanted to hear people say, “It’s cool. We still love you.” Not, “We knew,” or “it’s about time”. I wanted acceptance, not affirmed speculations. So, I heard myself in the script … and it was frightening and reassuring at the same time.Thank you for inviting me into this show. Thank you for allowing me to participate in a cascade of consensually reassuring tears with an audience that understood and accepted. And in a way that can only be described as cathartic revelry, I was forced to sit back in reflection many times during the play, especially the sentimental and touching ending. There is a wonderful thing being refined in the theatre, forged every night in each new audience. Afterward, I just wanted to hold onto some people I loved, commiserate and tell them truths I don’t want them to miss me saying to them. Everyone in the community (every part…not just the Proud) should come and see this show and share that feeling with me! Best wishes to the cast, JB