“GAY JESUS PLAY” AND RELATED DOCUMENTARY TO DEBUT IN DUBUQUE DESPITECRIES OF “BLASPHEMY”
DUBUQUE, IA – SEPTEMBER 4, 2012 - After facing protesters, bomb threats and deaththreats in NYC, after being denounced in Scotland by the Bishop of Edinburgh, after letterslaying out how they will be shot and killed in Dallas, thousands of protests in San Francisco,picketed in Orange County, CA and millions of signatures added to a petition that has traveledall around the world demanding a ban on the play and film, 108 Productions has forged aheadand traveled internationally for six years with Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi. Now for thefirst time in its history, with its debut in Dubuque, Iowa, the company is facing one of the biggestprotest campaigns it’s received, as it releases the documentary feature Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption.
Said actor/108 co-founder James Brandon and director/108 co-founder Nic Arnzen: “We areimmensely grateful to all those who have stood by us as we prepare to face a wave protestsfor the first time in our home town. With their support, we have no doubt that Corpus Christi’smessage of God’s inclusive love for LGBT people will drown out the angry words of those whoattack our play without having seen it.”
The 108 productions version of Corpus Christi, Terrence McNally’s controversial play, whichdepicts Jesus as a gay man in 1950s Texas, has drawn an angry response from someCatholics, as has Playing with Redemption. An online petition, based on a series of previousanti-Corpus Christi petitions by the right-wing Catholic site America Needs Fatima, has drawnover 11,000 signatures to date. The petition denounces 108 Productions’ version of theplay, along with the documentary Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption, as “unspeakableblasphemy” and “prejudicial outrage.” It also calls on Mindframe Theater, where the film is setto preview on Sept 25 and 26, to “immediately cancel the showing of this movie and play, and tooffer a public apology to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to all God fearing Americans.” In addition,108 Productions’ crew has received similar comments, in the form of personal emails, YouTubecomments, and even harassment of Arnzen’s mother in Iowa. Accordingly, a protest outside theevent is now expected, as protests have followed similar petitions for previous 108 Productionsperformances.About 108 Productions’ TourBeginning in 2006, 108 Productions launched a resoundingly successful revival production,directed by Nic Arnzen at Metropolitan Community Church in the Valley, which was lauded bycritics, continued to sell out for months at Los Angeles’ Zephyr Theatre, and went on to touracross America. In Europe, the play was an Amnesty International Freedom of Expressionnominee at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and was awarded the Intercultural DialogueAward at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in 2008. After, the company celebratedthe show’s 10th anniversary Off-Broadway at the Rattlestick Theatre, benefiting the MatthewShepard Foundation and New York’s Gay Community Center. The show continued to tour through 2011 nationally and internationally, while a documentary crew followed their travels toless tolerant communities.Now, six years later, CORPUS CHRISTI: PLAYING WITH REDEMPTION will host its first sneakpreview screening tour, launching the I AM Love Campaign. The Religious Right meets the 'gayJesus play' in this documentary film inspired by the play, which continues to face censorship,protests, bomb threats and religious condemnation. Mirroring the reflections of change insociety today in regards to freedom of speech, civil rights, marriage equality and separation ofchurch and state, this production has become a vehicle for a community struggling to find itsvoice. Meanwhile, the company of actors finds itself on a journey that would forever changetheir lives.The I AM Love Campaign's mission is to ignite a dialogue on religious bullying and homophobiain all ages and walks of life by teaching self-empowerment through artistic endeavors andeducational outreach. Beyond screenings of Playing With Redemption, which will be combinedwith performances of the play in select cities, the 108 Productions company will also conducteducational and arts-based workshops alongside gay and religious leaders in conservativecommunities around the country.For more information about the play, film, and I AM Love Campaign, go to http://www.corpuschristi-themovie.com/ or http://www.108productions.org
WHAT AND WHEN:Tuesday, September 25- Sneak Preview Film Screening, 8:00pmWednesday, September 26- Sneak Preview Film Screening, 6:00pmPlay Performance, 8:00pmThursday, September 27- Free Community Symposium*, 7:00pm Play Performance, 8:30pm
For Mature Audiences only (16+). Contains Brief Nudity and Adult Language.
WHERE: Mindframe Theater, 555 John F Kennedy Rd., Dubuque, IA 52002
TICKETS: $10 film, $20 play, $25 for both, www.corpuschristi-themovie.com