Tag Archives: play

Gay History - November 16, 1979: "BENT" Written by Martin Sherman Opens In London

Gay History – November 16, 1979: “BENT” Written by Martin Sherman Opens In London

Bent is a 1979 play written by Martin Sherman. that revolves around the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany, and takes place during and after the Night of the Long Knives  a purge that took place from June 30 to July 2, 1934. Chancellor Adolf Hitler, urged on by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, ordered a series of political extrajudicial executions intended to consolidate his power and alleviate the concerns of the German military about the role of Ernst Röhm who Hitler allowed himself to be convinced was the homosexual and intended to stage a coup.

Röhm and some of his commanders spent the weekend of June 30 at a hotel in rural Bavaria. They spent the Saturday drinking heavily, and according to Wackerfuss, “at least two SA men paired off to enjoy each other’s company in private.” Early Sunday morning Hitler himself and an entourage of SS men arrived and arrested Röhm. They also found two other stormtroopers in bed together in another room, the high-ranking Edmund Heines and his 18-year-old driver. Heines was eventually shot, but the fate of the other is unknown.

The Plot:

Max, a promiscuous gay man in 1930s Berlin, is at odds with his wealthy family because of his homosexuality. One evening, much to the resentment of his boyfriend Rudy, he brings home a handsome Sturmabteilung man. Unfortunately, it is the night that Hitler orders the assassination of the upper echelon of the Sturmabteilung corps, to consolidate his power. The Sturmabteilung man is discovered and killed by SS men in Max and Rudy’s apartment, and the two have to flee Berlin.

Max’s Uncle Freddie, who is also gay, but lives a more discreet life with rent boys to satisfy his desires, has organized new papers for Max to flee to France where homosexuality is legal, but Max refuses to leave his naïve boyfriend behind. As a result, Max and Rudy are found and arrested by the Gestapo and put on a train headed for Dachau concentration camp.

We will STOP here in case anyone out there is not familiar with the story.

In the original London 1979 Royal Court production, which later transferred to the West End, Ian McKellen played the role of  Max.

When BENT made it to America a year later the play featured Richard Gere as Max, David Marshall Grant as Rudy, James Remar as Wolf, Michael Gross as Greta, George Hall as Uncle Freddie, and the late actor David Dukes as Horst.

In 1997, Martin Sherman adapted Bent into a film of the same name, which was directed by Sean Mathias and starred: Clive Owen, Mick Jagger, and Ian McKellan from the original London production this time in the role of Uncle Freddy.

“Bent” tells a heartrending love story, set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. If you have not seen I urge you to do so.

You can watch the trailer below.

Actor Takes A Stand Against Anti-Gay Heckler During Gay Kiss In London Play

Mark Edel Hunt

Actor Mark Edel-Hunt, who plays the character of Gil, in the West End production of “The American Plan” in London took a stand against an anti-gay heckler who shouted out “makes me sick” in the middle of the production when his character kisses another male character.

The play concerns the story of the daughter of a wealthy German-Jewish refugee who falls in love with a handsome stranger at a holiday camp in the Catskill Mountains near New York in a 1960s summer. In the second half of the play, which was written by Richeard Greenberg, it transpires that Nick, who appears to be straight, has had a previous affair with Gil, who turns up at the camp.

Edel-Hunt, who was incensed at the homophobes outburst responded by returning to the stage at the end of the curtain call carrying a large sign that read: – “Some people are gay. Get over it!” to the delight of the audience who cheered wildly.

Andy Wasley, from Londons’s Stonewall Campaign was delighted at the cast’s reaction to the stunt. “It’s great to see a spirited response to such offensive behavior.”

The unidentified homophobe left the theater quickly and quietly.

 

George Clooney To Star In Gay Play: “It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens,”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights announced today that  Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney is joining the cast for the West Coast premier of Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black’s “8.”

The play is about the historic trial in AFER’s federal constitutional challenge to Prop 8,. The play, taken from the District Court trial transcripts, courtroom observations and interviews with the two couples who are plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, will be directed by noted actor/director and AFER Founding Board Member Rob Reiner.

Said Clooney:

“It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens,” Clooney said in an AFER press release.  “I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people – like all human beings – are born equal in dignity and rights.”

“8” premiered to a sold-out audience and much acclaim last Sept. 19 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City. The West Coast premier will be a one-night only performance.

The play will have its Los Angeles debut on March 3rd.