An excerpt from the gay-themed Terrence McNally play “Corpus Christi” will be presented at Tarleton State University at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 27. The production, originally set for afternoon, has been rescheduled for security reasons, and only friends, family and invited guests will be admitted.
The controversy began several weeks ago when members of the community in Stephenville heard gay student John Jordan Otte has chosen the play as a project for his directing class.
Local preachers denounced the play from the pulpit. Letters to the editor of The Stephenville Empire Tribune claimed blasphemy. Callers flooded the school administration with complaints. None of those who complained claimed to have ever actually seen or read the play.
Otte said that he chose “Corpus Christi” because of its theme of tolerance, and he called McNally a hero of his.
Although the time has changed, the play was always scheduled to be presented in the small 95-seat theater and was never advertised to the public.
The administration has defended the play’s presentation on free speech and academic freedom grounds.