Castro district audiences hoping to watch local Catholic school students portraying the inner struggles of gay teenagers balancing religious faith and sexual identity were forced to find something else to do with their Sunday. San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer stepped in to shield city audiences from the notion of homosexuals in live theater, canceling a scheduled March 8 showing of the play Be Still and Know at Most Holy Redeemer church in the Castro.
The play — based on the 2007 novel The God Box — is a high school theatrical production featuring student actors from Atherton's Sacred Heart Preparatory, and was personally adapted for the stage by that school's drama director, John Loschman. While the notion of a play compassionate to the difficult plight of religious homosexuals playing in the heart of the Castro might strike outsiders as akin to a traveling presentation of A Raisin in the Sun showing in the Bayview or Fiddler on the Roof at the Jewish Community Center, the student play's pending curtain date was documented in local Catholic newsletters and blogs with the trepidation of villagers awaiting the barbarians at the gate.
While the play has showed elsewhere in the Bay Area — and chaos did not ensue — Niederauer made it clear he did not feel plays about homosexuality should be playing in his backyard. He ordered Most Holy Redeemer to cancel the show — and the church complied (though it appears the show may have been moved down the road to the University of San Francisco).
Messages left for Loschman and the Archdiocese have not yet been returned. Theater-goers with a desire to view homosexual subjects elsewhere in the Castro are advised to look literally anywhere.