Last night, I had the humbling experience of becoming acutely aware of my own ignorance.
My friend Sam brought me to THE NANCE. Winning tickets from one of New York City’s various list serves is not a feat. However, winning tickets to a Tony Award winning play is exceptional.
THE NANCE recreates the naughty, raucous world of burlesque’s heyday and tells the backstage story of Chauncey Miles (Nathan Lane) and his fellow performers.
From time to time I prefer to forgo researching a show and blindly enter the experience. And somehow the show title was lost on me. So, as the curtain rises and the lights come up I am left wondering what decade this scene is set. It didn’t take too long for this to become clear and I was immersed in the flirtation and blooming romance on stage.
The set was brilliant, seamlessly adding to the the story, the acting natural and honest, and the story heartbreaking. The show got me thinking; how could I be so forgetful of the past consequences of loving in public? Just 50-some years ago one could be put in jail for kissing. Hand holding even!
Inherently I’ve collected knowledge of historical homophobia. Unlike women’s suffrage, feminism, segregation, and the civil rights movement I wasn’t taught about sexual preference and gender identity in school.
THE NANCE illustrates the narrative of a man and a couple whose struggle transcends sexual preference. Tackling self worth, monogamy, and the search for a calling, the play weaved a story that I feel a little embarrassed for only gaining an appreciation for now.
The event was filmed for PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. I thought about how great it is to be living in a time where I can witness change. Participate in it too. Watching this program on PBS provides opportunity to learn. Perhaps this program will create discourse and quell misconceptions perpetuated by ignorance. Or so I can hope.
PBS hasn’t yet announced when next year the show will air, but I recommend you catch it if you can. And maybe think forward. What other discrimination is tolerated that doesn’t quite add up…?