Being gay punished by Death in Fringe Fest Distopia
by Graham Lanktree
in Metro Ottawa
An underground railroad that helps homosexuals escape a dystopian world where being gay is punishable by death is at the heart of the new Fringe Festival play Ex Cathedra.
“In a sense, we can say it takes place in an alternate world,” says the play’s director Brett Desrosiers. “The truth is, homosexuality is still seen as a crime and is actually punishable by death in too many parts of the world.”
In 80 countries around the world it’s still illegal to be gay, said Jeremy Dias of Jer’s Vision, a diversity and anti-bullying non-profit fronting the show through its Troupe De La Lune theater program. “So it speaks to the current and past experience of lots of people.”
Proceeds from the play will go to launching the Bullying Monologues, a new project Jer’s Vision will start in September, Dias said. The project will see Troupe De La Lune actors in schools throughout the city presenting some of the thousands of real-life stories of bullying that Jer’s Vision has received in letters from youth and parents.
“We’re hoping to convey the complexity of these experiences to launch a dialogue in classes,” Dias said. “By understanding the complexities we can find solutions. If we’re not talking about solutions, nothing changes.”
Ex Cathedra opens Thursday, June 14 at 135 Seraphin-Marion and will be playing throughout the Fringe with shows on Saturday, June 16 at 11:00 p.m., Sunday, June 17, at 6:00 p.m. and more.