History comes to life in Body Politic, the reimagined story of the seminal queer publication. After a public reading almost a year ago, writer Nick Green took the show to Buddies in Bad Times artistic director Brendan Healy, who offered his dramaturgical expertise to turn a queer history lesson into a living, breathing story.
“One of my main objectives, for sure, is still to celebrate the amazing history of the publication, to bring the hard, brave work that has been done to the minds of the audience,” Green says, noting that the production has developed significantly. “In this incarnation, I’ve integrated the discussions that the play inspired right into the story, rather than leaving them for when you’re having a beer after the show.” The show, which has been developed in residency at Buddies, will be mounted as a workshop production, running for three nights.
Rather than present a straight-up docudrama, Green chose to fictionalize the story, distilling characters and events for dramatic purposes. “Instead of getting hung up on the details of ‘It was him who suggested that,’ ‘No, it was him!’ I wanted to focus on the bigger picture of all that this publication achieved,” he says. “Through this fictionalization, I can craft questions and tensions in the story that I couldn’t possibly distill if I was bound to absolute historical accuracy.”
The feedback he received after the public reading was, to Green’s relief, very positive. “I sat at the back, trying to gauge reactions and was floored when the packed house rose to its feet at the end,” he says. “There certainly was some constructive feedback, but all of it very encouraging. The BP-ers in the room were quite eager to let me know about a couple little inaccuracies, which I loved hearing. What more could I expect from a room full of journalists and activists. I think there could be no crowd more terrifying for a show like this!”