Still Sordid After All These Years: A reflection on the show
It’s 2015, and seventeen years later, the sordid saga continues with all the same crazy characters we love. After a chance meeting with a dangerous criminal, Brother Boy, who has added Loretta and Dolly to his repertoire, is forced out on the run. Ty has a new boyfriend and is coming home with him for the anniversary memorial service in honor of Peggy at Bubba’s Bar. The Southside Baptist Church is planning an “Anti-Equality Rally” to protest the advancement of same-sex marriage. Both events are to take place on the same night, so the cast of colorful characters are all on a collision course for shenanigans and fireworks, and a surprise wedding! Grab your ticket to A VERY SORDID WEDDING by Del Shores here!
“Excuse me, sir.” He says with the most delightful smile I ever did see. “You are going to burn in Hell.”
“Ok thanks,” I reply.
Protesters spewing fire and brimstone are nothing new. They show up at nearly every public gathering, parade, or festivity, whether it is a gay event or not. They show up at the city’s annual Zombie Walk to screech at people about the dangers of the occult. They show up at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to lecture on the sin of indulgence. Moreover, since this is Louisville, Kentucky, they show up during the first of May, in time for the Kentucky Derby, to compare the city to Sodom and Gomorrah. However, no matter what they are protesting, they usually end up circling back to homosexuality. They are just obsessed with homosexuality.
This jovial man – standing on a milk crate with a megaphone – was the most polite bigot I have yet encountered. Leviticus, chapter 18 verse 22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination,” was tattooed on his meaty forearm. Interestingly enough, Leviticus 19:28, which says,” You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord,” was conveniently left off. Maybe they ran out of ink.
This blatant, hypocrisy astounds me, and this man seems utterly unaware of his hypocrisy. Therein lies the danger of blindly believing in something without bothering to learn the details. Homosexuality was a sin. It said so in the Bible. Biblical scholars have been debating over this Leviticus 18:22 for centuries. Somehow today it seems to have been translated to “homosexuality is the worst sin of all.” How they got from one to the other is beyond me.
Moreover, why the fixation on that one verse? After all, this is the same book that says a man can sell his daughters into slavery. That a person should be put to death for planting certain crops side by side, or for wearing clothing made from two different threads, it must be nice be able to pick and choose like that.
In 2015 the gays stole my thunder. It is ok though; I was thrilled, for it was a momentous day for our tribe, for all tribes, even those too blind to see it. A more significant celebration eclipsed the night of my long-awaited and meticulously planned 40th birthday blowout. That afternoon, June 26, 2015, in the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.
It has been over six years. My partner and I have opted not to marry, at least not yet. However, we both agree that we will, at some point. Suddenly though, that point is not so fixed; in fact, it threatens to disappear. Because in the nearly seven years since that joyous birthday party, along came Donald Trump. Then Scalia retired. Then RBG died, and suddenly the scales of the Supreme Court are tipped. Suddenly the stage is set for an all-new shit show.
When I look back at the night of my 40th birthday, I still marvel at the timing. What a night of celebration it was. In addition to basking in the warm glow of attention – which is my want- the sense of joy, and pride, and freedom was indescribable. For the first time in my 40 years on Earth, I understood what it felt like to be equal. Yes, I am a white man; I understand my privilege, but when you grow up believing that you are a singular oddity in this world, you think of yourself as separate from everyone else. When you get a little older, you realize there are more like you, many, many more, but you are relegated to the shadows. Most people are not so tolerant. You don’t hold hands in public; you don’t use pronouns, you hide. Even those who live in the most open communities, with accepting families, are conditioned to hide. Because we are not the same as “them.” But on that night, we were the same. We were them. Yet, the fight still rages.
We’ve come a long way, but it’s not enough. These are scary times, in fact since the historic ruling on marriage equality in 2015, we seemed to have moved backwards. I dismissed A Very Sordid Wedding as fluff when I first approached the script. I was remiss to do so. Yes, this show is campy, and the humor is broad, and the characters come dangerously close to being archetypal. But they are not, the emotions and the turmoil that every one of these characters embody is very real, and for so many of us very raw. The constant fight to merely exist in the world is taxing, not just for the LGBTQ+ community but for their friends and family as well. Listen closely to the words of LaTrelle towards the end of the play; they sum up everything. The meaning of life is to love and to be loved in return, everything else is just chaos we bring on ourselves.
There is a powerful message in this play. These actors who so skillfully bring to life the kooky citizens of Winter’s Texas, are amazing Each one of the, brought their own experiences, some of them painful, some of them long forgotten to their roles. The result is a funny, touching and most importantly human, show that we should all be proud of. Finally, in the words of Sordid’s own LaVonda DuPree, “if you have a problem with any of this, don’t let the door hit ya, where the good Lord split ya.”