Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sordid Lives

Sarah and I went to see the local theater company's production of the play, Sordid Lives. The following is a synopsis is from Turner Classic Movie website:

The bizarre death of Peggy Ingraham, the matriarch of a working-class Texas family, sets off fireworks within her dysfunctional family. Her determinedly proper daughter Latrelle is in denial over the fact that her son Ty, an actor trying to make it in Hollywood, is gay, and is relieved that her only brother, a gay drag queen and dedicated Tammy Wynette impersonator, has been confined to a mental institution for 23 years simply because he is gay. Latrelle's brassy sister LaVonda, however, thinks her brother should be released from the institution and has a perfect right to attend their mother's funeral. Meanwhile, Ty, who has strived hard to accept his homosexuality, realizes that there is no way he can return home for his grandmother's funeral without coming out to his mother.

Sordid Lives was the funniest play that Sarah and I have seen. We screamed with laughter. We kept hitting each other on the arm. Since I was reared in the deep south in a Southern Baptist family, there were many scenes that reminded me of things from my past. A theme in the play was two sisters in a disagreement trying to get their poor old aunt to take sides. Ain't that one we've all been in before.

One of the funniest incidents was one of the characters looking at the flowers for Peggy's funeral and remarking about a telephone being part of the floral display. No lie. I have actually seen this before. A friend was telling me once about seeing a phone floral wreath
when attending the visitation in a funeral home and not understanding the meaning. When someone in her group explained to her it meant the recently deceased had gotten "the call." It still took a while before she finally understood that the recently deceased had gotten "the call" from the Lord to come home (aka dying). About the time the meaning became clear to her, a phone near her in the funeral home rang. Someone told my friend to answer the phone. She said, "no way in hell." Honestly, this is a true story.

The characters in the play were wonderful. The actors performance was masterful. Juanita, the female bar fly alcoholic, in the play was hysterical. Her one liners were delivered perfectly. I'm sure that many of us in the audience has seen a Juanita in a bar some where around from time to time.

We all have these characters in our families and groups of friends OR we may be one. As we were leaving, I said to Sarah, I feel like I have been home for a funeral. The only thing we didn't have was a transvestite!!" Then I said, "until we have a family member who is transgender."

The prejudices of our society may cause individuals to hide or deny who they are. As the play so skillfully demonstrated, hiding who one is destructive for the individual and those helping to hide the secret. I believe that the hilarity of play gave an opportunity to examine prejudices in a kinder more loving light.

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