Breaking Glass Pictures, which is giving fellow Philadelphia-based LGBT home-video distribution company TLA Releasing a run for its money, continues expanding the range of queer cinema that it puts out in making "Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption" available on DVD and VOD on October 14 2014. This documentary awesomely discusses both the controversy surrounding the Terrence McNally play "Corpus Christi" and how that controversy and the theme in the play that Jesus is a modern-day gay man bonds the casts of that work.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the Glass promo. for the release includes scenes that terrifically provide a sense of the protest-related frenzy, the "passion" behind the play, and "Corpus" itself.
A significant portion of "Redemption" involves McNally and members of his original cast sharing stories of the intense protests and threats of violence associated with news of plans to produce the play off-Broadway in 1998. Having television god (and controversial figure) Norman Lear discuss his involvement with the campaign to counter the protests is a terrific bonus.
Some of the best moments involve McNally discussing his inspirations for the title of the play and the style of Jesus and his apostles. These show that high art can have humble origins.
"Redemption" additionally focuses on a revival of "Corpus" that includes a production deep in the heart of Texas. Folks who share the expressed sentiment of one "Corpus" cast member that the Lone Star State really is not part of the United States can understand the negative reaction of many Texans on learning of the plans to bring the play into their community.
Great humor relates to bubbas referring to "keister" sex and otherwise ignoring the advice of Mark Twain that it is better to remain silent and be believed to be ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Other evidence of this relates to protestors getting hot and bothered without either seeing the play or reading the script.
Other good humor relates to footage from "Corpus" itself in which Jesus politely counters the arguments of characters who quote the Bible in support of their condemnation of homosexual acts. A related cute moment has Jesus conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony.
For their part, cast members go beyond discussing the importance of the play to sharing personal conflicts regarding wanting to be part of a church community but both disliking the current messages of hating and being made to feel unwelcome.
The best way to sum all this up is that the entertaining and informative "Redemption" shows how "Corpus" hits the trifecta of controversy by combining elements of sex, religion, and politics. It simply is a shame that the Catholics who genuinely believe that "Corpus" and productions like it blaspheme their religion seemingly forget about the historical eras in which Catholics were on the wrong end of this type of violent and mean-spirited prejudice.
The plethora of special features includes scenes from "Christi" itself and backstage footage.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Redemption" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.