Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Inside, Looking Out: David Schmader's One-Man Video about Going Undercover at an "Ex-Gay" Ministry Raises Questions about Being Queer in Mainstream Society

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Inside, Looking Out: David Schmader's One-Man Video about Going Undercover at an "Ex-Gay" Ministry Raises Questions about Being Queer in Mainstream Society

Article excerpt

Straight * Written and performed by David Schmader * Directed by Chay Yew * Stage Direct

Recorded live in Portland, Ore., David Schmader's Straight: A Conversion Comedy ostensibly tells the stow of his infiltration into the heart of Exodus Ministries, an "ex-gay" support group that seeks to convert gays into straights. But while the original purpose for Schmader's subterfuge was to expose the ministry, the process ultimately led him to examine and analyze society's definition of "gay."

As a general rule, stage shows shot on video fail to capture the raw emotion (and thus the essence) of the performance. Straight proves to be an exception, as it lets the home viewer feel as if he is not only watching the show but is also challenged by Schmader to think, feel, and question.

Working with out stage director Chay Yew, Schmader is a seasoned monologuist and is quite comfortable in front of an audience. His storytelling affords viewers a gamut of emotions from humor to rage. In one moment we can laugh at comedic family interactions and in another be appalled by the abhorrent misuse of Jesus's name to foster hatred. Unfortunately, the production plays a bit drawn-out on video. …

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