Scholars and actors will join to see how labels stick for a new generation.
Recently awarded a $36,500 provost seed grant, a project titled “Queer, Get Used to It,” is in its early stages of development.
Peter Reynolds, the head of musical theater and assistant chair of the theater department, said the project’s ensemble will be chosen in November after auditions are held.
“We’re setting out to interview college-aged students about their viewpoints toward sexuality and gender, and trying to determine if there is a more fluid concept of sexuality and gender now than there used to be … with the idea that perhaps young people are paving the way to inclusion for the queer community rather than just tolerance,” Reynolds said.
Scott Gratson, an assistant professor in the department of strategic communication, said the project will also look at how different factors affect people’s experiences with sexuality and sexual identity.
Gratson also said he and Reynolds are talking with people from New York and Ohio, respectively, to get ideas about how different environments affect people’s experiences.
Reynolds said the show’s style is yet to be determined, but that the project is looking for writers and queer theorists in addition to actors.
“Exactly how the show is formed is still up in the air,” Reynolds said. “Of course there will be actors involved, but we’re thinking for sure that there will be video, maybe even original music [and] taped interviews. The possibilities are endless at present.”
Performances are set to begin in the days following spring break.
Reynolds is also the artistic director and co-founder of Mauckingbird Theatre Company, a company “committed to producing professional gay-themed theatre,” according to its website. Reynolds said the idea of having the project performed through Mauckingbird in addition to Temple was discussed, but a decision has not been made.
As for the seed grant, Reynolds said the money will pay for the production necessities and traveling expenses for research into the project and literature and reading materials.
“I think that it’s great that Temple is being supportive,” Gratson said. “The timing couldn’t have been more appropriate.”
Reynolds said he is grateful to Temple and the provost’s office for providing the opportunity to examine this topic.
“It seems to me that [this] generation really is not as hung up on labels and categorizing people as previous generations, so I’m really interested to talk to [this] generation about this,” Reynolds said.
But the project is not targeted to just a college-aged audience, Reynolds said, adding that it will have a much “broader appeal.”
“I really see it as [having] a cross-population appeal,” Gratson said.
“It’s about the thinking of [college students’] generation, and if their generation is actually making a difference in terms of acceptance of the queer community,” Reynolds said. “It will be stories by them, about them, for them.”
Angelo Fichera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.