Protests after gay son ‘exorcised’ in controversial Russian play

Russia’s law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ tested to its limits with play featuring gay teenager’s coming out story

A play based on the true story of a gay son coming out to his parents is under threat in Moscow, after complaints from a protest group.

‘All the Shades of Blue’ – ‘blue’ is a slang term for being gay in Russian – is currently being performed at one of Moscow’s most established theaters, the Satirikon.

The play shows a sympathetic portrayal of a gay teenager coming out to his parents, who force him to attend a rehabilitation center to cure him of his homosexuality.

After being taken to an exorcist by his grandmother, the boy is taken to a prostitute by his father, who believes the experience might turn him straight.

Audience members wishing to view the show must be over the age of 21 – a measure designed to uphold Russia’s controversial law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors, which passed in 2013.

Despite stringent measures to keep children away from the theater, director Konstantin Raikin has been called for questioning by prosecutors, after obscure group Art Without Borders lodged complaints detailing the play’s ‘swearing, propaganda of amoral behavior and pornography’.

‘A serious battle has started against the theater,’ the play’s writer Vladimir Zaitsev explained, speaking to AFP on Friday.

Zaitsev, who was not expecting the play to be shown in his home country, said he took inspiration from the story of 16-year-old Ivan Kharchenko, who was detained by his father for being gay in 2012.

He wrote the play for ‘intolerant people who are ready to shun their own child, send him to a clinic for treatment, do whatever they can to change him, just to stay within the set of norms that have been dictated to them.’

Audiences, meanwhile, appear receptive towards the play: performances are often at full capacity, and viewers often respond with a standing ovation as the play comes to an end.

by Mel Spencer
Source – Gay Star News