Aloud began its public life as a short stage play featured in the first annual Gay Play Day Festival (http://gayplayday.blogspot.ca/ ) in September 2012. Artistic Director Darren Stewart-Jones founded the festival to provide a venue for stories from the LGBTQ community. He has for the last three years put together an annual lineup of diverse and engaging stories.
The stage version (titled The Object of Her Attraction) introduced Laurie and Suzanne in very much the same manner that they appear in the film. The big difference was that the subconscious voices of our two main characters (which are voiceover in the film) were actually cast as another actor on stage. So there was Laurie (Mary Joseph), her inside voice (Naomi Priddle Hunter), Suzanne (Julie Burris) and her subconscious (writer Tina McCulloch), plus the barista Kai (Pona Tran).
Lotta estrogen in rehearsals for that show, and a lot of laughs. A great cast, and a great mix of gay and straight women. At the end of rehearsal (once we had really gotten to know one another well), one of the cast members said to director PJ Hammond, “So, come on, you’re really gay, aren’t you?” But, as touching as it is to be accepted, PJ had to say no. “So, how do you get it, then?” countered the actor.
Because it is about love. Love is love.
And that’s the truth of it. We can talk about things that make us different from one another, but there are many more things that bring us together. We all share a desire to love and be loved. We all know the walk across the floor to ask someone to dance is the longest walk in the world. Except for the walk back alone.
And that’s the wrinkle, the raised stakes that the LGBTQ aspect of this story brings. “Is she or isn’t she?” You could ask and get turned down for reasons so basic. For something about yourself that you cannot change. Who would choose that lifestyle?
No, the LGBT people I know have never chosen. It takes a special kind of bravery to accept yourself and keep putting yourself out there and asking for love. Especially when the world still harbours some hate for the LGBTQ community.
BTW, the stage script became a screenplay through the Queer Ideas development process, founded by Evert Houston and Ron Leach. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Queer-Ideas/615197135199850 Their brainchild came about because they recognized the special advantage we have in Canada, that we can tell these stories openly, without fear of punishment, hate or violence. And because we can tell them, we must tell them.
So. Help us tell this story! Donate! http://igg.me/at/aloudtheshort
SPECIAL PERK: for a $100 donation to the Indiegogo campaign to fund Aloud‘s post-production costs, you can have a coffee date with PJ and/or Tina. Because, you know, they haven’t been brave enough to cross the dance floor, so they don’t have dates of their own.