Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Love Jerry

In response to my recent post, openness, secrecy, and shame, I saw that Kordalian linked to an article about a play, Love Jerry, that's about to be done in Atlanta. It follows the story of two brothers after one discovers that his brother had sexually abused his son. It has sometimes been referred to in the press as the "pedophile musical," giving an air of flippancy about it. After reading the article, and then reading the information at the production company's web site (which, of course, is extremely sensational to try to get the audience numbers up), I found the author's web site, and emailed her asking about the actual content of the play.

She seems like a very sensitive and heartfelt person, and bristled at the media dubbing her work a "pedophile musical" simply because she incorporated some of her own musical talent, composing a few original works as part of the play. Child sexual abuse is an issue close to her heart, and I get the impression that she truly intends it as an in-depth exploration of the issues families face when things like this happen. Mike (a character in her play), like all parents who discover sexual abuse by a much-loved family member, is forced to try to reconcile a lifetime of loving his brother with an absolute dedication to protecting his son and the horror of discovery of the abuse.

It could go either way. But, if she handles the issues as tenderly and with the same level of integrity and sensitivity that she responded to my email, this play might actually be a good thing. I'm even looking into performance dates to see if we can scoot into Atlanta to see it during its' run.

In any case, she has agreed to allow me to interview her for an upcoming podcast, assuming we can find a mutually agreeable time, and I would be honored to hear her perspective.

I guess my questions would be:
*What motivated her to write this kind of play, to choose this topic?
*Did she feel like she had to take certain precautions when writing, due to the subject matter, and if so, what kinds of things was she particularly careful of?
*Does she worry that this kind of a play might perhaps be a negative trigger for those who were sexually abused, or for families in similar situations, bringing up emotions and reactions that might not be healthy?
*Reviews note that she does not demonize Jerry, the abuser. Was it a continual effort not to do that? Does the play, even if it does not demonize the abuser, adequately express the absolute wrong nature of these kinds of acts?

Please feel free to comment and leave me a few more suggestions for possible lines of questioning that would be helpful or interesting. I'm actually looking forward to talking with her, and hope we can somehow bring our schedules together. :-)

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