McNally's Corpus Christi Ignites Protest in Scotland

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10 Dec 2004

Another production of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi, another protest.

The ever-controversial Christ play Corpus Christi, routinely referred to by the press as "the gay Jesus play," has elicited cries of outrage in St. Andrews, Scotland, where the drama is being produced by St. Andrews University.

"If there is a blasphemy like this, Christians have to stand up," said Stephen Green of Christian Voice told UK reporters. "Jesus Christ is being portrayed here as a foul mouthed, drunken, promiscuous homosexual and that is an insult to my faith."

Christian Voice has formally lodged a complaint with police. No decision has been made yet.

Set in 1950s south Texas, Corpus Christi depicts the life of gay Christ-like figure named Joshua and the relationships he forms with his twelve disciples, including a Judas-like lover, a lawyer and a male prostitute.



When Corpus Christi made its debut in October 1998 at the Manhattan Theatre Club, protests from the Catholic League of Religious and Civil Rights and fringe extremist groups almost led to the play's cancellation. Only counterprotests from the arts community including a petition signed by playwrights Tony Kushner, Craig Lucas, Marsha Norman, Lanford Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, and Larry Kramer and the threatened loss of Athol Fugard's The Captain's Tiger, brought reinstatement of the play into the MTC season. Throughout the run, protests continued. Theatregoers were forced to pass through metal detectors. Critics, meanwhile, were underwhelmed by the play's literary merits.

Since then, the play has regularly inspired protests from conservative groups.