AFT Looks Back: THE HOMOSEXUALS (2011)
In honor of our 20th anniversary, we are reflecting on some of our most popular and pivotal shows from the last two decades. This week, we sat down with AFT Artistic Associate and cast member of THE HOMOSEXUALS, Elizabeth Ledo. Read on to learn more and stay tuned as we share AFT history every week throughout our 20th Anniversary campaign!
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In 2011, Philip Dawkin’s play THE HOMOSEXUALS was a runaway hit. The show and its stellar cast enjoyed two extensions and has gone on to have many productions around the country. When you talk to people about THE HOMOSEXUALS, you find that they have a really special place for this genuine and incredibly human play. Elizabeth Ledo recalls the audience reaction at the time: “Everyone was just like ‘I just want to take this piece home with me. And what if we can found space like the Blue Man Group and you can just keep running it forever and ever?’ Nobody wanted it to end.”
Elizabeth Ledo was the only female in the cast and jokes, “I was the diamond among the aquamarines!” In a show that was primarily about gay men, it’s possible she could have felt like an outsider or like the story she was telling wasn’t really representative of her. Not so. She explains, “I wasn’t there to facilitate a story for gay men. I was there to tell a story about this guy’s life. My job wasn’t to be the ‘fag hag’ in this gay play, it was to be a friend to this guy that was going through this thing and I was one of the windows into that story. That’s human.”
One of the truly remarkable things about this play (and really Philip Dawkins’ work in general) is that, while the title might suggest that this play might be exclusive, his way of story telling is incredibly inclusive. Ledo remarks, “You could sit in the theatre and just laugh at the absurdity and beauty of human behavior. And sure it spoke to the gay voice, but people could come who didn’t know anything about the gay experience and just be swept away by the great beauty and sometimes ‘ugh’ of human life.”
Philip Dawkins’ work is so representative of the kind of stories that AFT wants to put on stage now. The stories he tells are easy to relate to, genuine and representative of the queer voice as a whole and well-rounded voice in society. The queer experience in his hands is unique but also incredibly human. That was the magic of THE HOMOSEXUALS in 2011 and one of the reasons why we can’t wait to premiere LE SWITCH in our 20th season.