Since my story last week about Tarleton State University student John Jordan Otte directing an excerpt of the Terrence McNally play “Corpus Christi,” pressure has persisted to stop the production.
Letters to the editor of The Stephenville Empire Tribune have continued to spew hatred.
Several of the actors in the class project have been forced to leave the play.
Another, a freshman whose father is a Baptist minister in Stephenville, refused to quit the production and was thrown out of his house. Otte has taken in the student and given him a place to live.
This morning on KRLD, host Jodie Dean ambushed Otte, asking whether he chose the play just to provoke controversy. Otte said that he did not, and Dean challenged him on that.
The play was chosen as a class assignment and will be presented one time in a theater that holds just 95 people. The excerpt from the play will be shown along with three other 45-minute productions. While open to the public, the show wasn’t meant to be advertised or promoted. It was intended to be seen mostly by friends and family of the actors.
Instead, word got out about the play, and the controversy erupted. The president of the university has issued a statement defending Otte’s freedom of speech.
I’m sure Dean thought he was being very clever on his right-wing talkfest this morning. But Otte had no reason to believe that this project for his directing class would get any more public attention than homework for his math class.