It is convenient when the perspectives of my longtime dual personas as a stage director and an ethicist are simultaneously relevant, so I couldn’t pass up this juicy story.
From the LGBT blog of the LA Weekly:
A Southern California production of the Tennessee Williams classic “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” was canceled today after a homophobic outburst in the audience led to a physical confrontation, the firing of an actor, and an apparent cast revolt….the Repertory East Playhouse… announced in a statement today that the run of the play was “suspended” …as a result of “cast members leaving the show with no time to adequately re-cast their parts … “[A] man in the audience was allegedly drunk and heckling the performers during Saturday night’s performance….The heckling had been building up, …with whistling and cat-calling aimed at the character Maggie, as if the heckler and his friend “were at a strip club.”….at the moment Brick is asked why he rejected a kiss from Maggie….the heckler called out something like, “Because he’s a fag,” according to the director. At that point the actor playing Big Daddy, John Lacy, went into the audience to confront the man…”
“It was almost like he [Big Daddy] was still in character,” another actor told the LA Weekly blogger, Dennis Romero. He and a third actor then left the stage, and helped subdue the drunken audience member and his friend. Apparently the audience applauded the scene—does this remind anyone else of “My Favorite Year”?—and the play continued. Said a cast member: “The rest of the play has more resonance than ever.”
The theater fired Lacy after the show. Anton Troy, the actor playing Brick who had been heckled, then announced on Facebook that he was quitting the production in protest, saying in part, “I will not support homophobia or an establishment that doesn’t support its talent. Hate in any form is not something I choose to subscribe to. John is a seasoned professional and an honorable man. It should never escalate to a point where the talent has to handle an unruly drunk in the audience themselves regardless of the outcome. Producers dropped the ball..”
Other actors quit the production as well, and the entire run, which was to have included a tour, was cancelled.
Here are some ethics observations: Continue reading