Queen City Theatre Company has been promoting their newest production, “The Pride” by Alexi Kaye Campbell, to be performed May 4-13 at Duke Energy Theatre in Spirit Square. The play, which tells two parallel stories set in 1958 and 2008, is an exploration of homosexuality, pride and the social conditions that influence LGBTQ people. The company’s promotion of this play has inspired great ire on Facebook, particularly in the comment section of a picture showing the two male protagonists kissing.
“The Pride” premiered in London in 2008 and has since been performed off-Broadway in New York in 2010. A New York Times review of the 2010 production was not altogether favorable, but writer Ben Brantley discussed the compelling nature of the play’s alternating timelines and major themes.
“These accounts offer an intriguing counterpoint between optimism in hard times and self-defeating pessimism in relatively easy ones,” wrote Brantley. “Such descriptions speak evocatively of what it means to be gay in different epochs.”
Meanwhile, Facebook commenters felt very differently. One picture in particular, of the two main characters kissing, triggered an avalanche of condemnation from conservative users of the site.
“that is so sick. the devil deceives so many folks. wake up people,” wrote one commenter. “if u think it’s normal for 2 same sex to be together then u are wrong. God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.”
“How are you sure God didn’t create Steve?” responded another. “Poor Steve.”
Some replies in defense of the image were calm and respectful — “Keep your hate to yourself” — others used Biblical logic right back, or expressed outrage. Some responses to the hate were bitingly funny.
In response to one comment expressing dislike and alleging that the image shouldn’t be allowed on Facebook, another person responded: “I don’t like your face, I don’t agree with your hairline, you shouldn’t be allowed on here.”
“Pushing the homo agenda,” wrote another makeshift theatre critic. “I guess you people at the QUEEN CITY THEATRE hope the degenerates will support you. You will never ever get a dollar of mine. Offend the many, and hope the few will pick up the slack is not the best business model.” The replies?
“Yes I can see that Broadway has been offending the many and hoping the few will pick up the slack in tremendous failure for 150 years … oh wait.”
Another woman didn’t seem to quite understand the way that social media works in terms of unfollowing, or merely scrolling past undesirable content.
“Gross!” she wrote on the picture featured on Queen City Theatre’s page. “This crap was posted on my Facebook. I did not ask for it and Just cause people say being guy is ok don’t make it ok just like all sin.”
One reply: “Girl, it’s called ad sponsorship or your husband/boyfriend has gay cookies on your computer and he doesn’t like your cookies. Learn how tech works.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” the woman replied, missing the point completely. “All I see is two gays kisses get off my page.”
Still more commenters brought the recent political climate into the discussion, some threateningly, and others in tirades.
“Bitch’s how about you bring your backward ass here and try to walk in the bathroom with my granddaughter in it,” wrote one. “Promise you won’t be walking out the same person..you ignorant piece’s of shit!”
“To hell with this Satanic Sodomite Bullshit! Yuck!” wrote one man. “Another one of the leftist uniformed Sodimites that have educated by CNN propaganda machine whos hypocrisy is only matched by their immorality and gender confusion walking around in sate of mental confusion in an alternative reality created by the Authoritarian Global elite that want to enslave them and have destroyed their individuality!… the President kicked the muslim false god alla out! Lol Good bye pagan!”
These comments have the potential to make anyone cry, laugh or grow very angry. However, there is no doubt that the scandal involved makes potential viewers even more curious to see the play. Yet, as one statement by the Queen City Theatre Company reveals, with risk-taking comes danger.
“Attention: Queen City Theatre Company will not tolerate any threats within our posts,” the company’s Facebook account posted on the thread. “Any threats of signs of violence will be deleted, reported and banned from our page. We have been very supportive of freedom of speech, but keep in mind that this is a social network and we are only promoting a beautiful show and a story that needs to be told. We will continue working hard toward equality and awareness of issues that affect us all. Thanks to all of our supporters and see you at the theatre!”
Many supporters of the play and the company commented that the hate inspired them to purchase tickets.
“Can’t wait to see The Pride,” one declared. “Thank you homophobes for showing us how important it is we not let your kind shut down the creative world.”