Producer of ASU's Performance in the Borderlands, Mary Stephens, is back with Banned Plays, to bring awareness to performances that have been kept off the stage.
This weekend, she'll present And Then Came Tango, about the real-life story of two male penguins that raised a baby penguin together in New York City's Central Park Zoo.
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The play was written by a University of Texas graduate student, and after it was performed for second-graders at a Texas elementary school last October, there was an uproar from conservatives that caused district officials to suspend the play.
Stephens says the play was brought to her attention by an ASU professor and that one of her team members suggested the piece as well.
"We felt it was important to make the event accessible to families," says Stephens. "So many books or plays are banned in defense of 'family values,' which of course is a veiled attempt at maintaining the status quo."
Stephens says she thinks we live in a society that has multiple representations and expressions of family and love. She and her team want to present this play for the community to see the different representation as normal, and not alternative or different.
Stephens says she hopes that those in attendance will take away an awareness that public spaces for intellectual thought and art are essential to healthy communities and growth. Additionally, she says she hopes people will see that same-sex partnerships are not the great threat to our society as others would have us believe.
"Things like prisons, poverty, racism, sexism, lack of healthy food and healthcare and poor education along class lines are the great threat to 'family values,'" says Stephens. "Not two loving people that happen to both be women/men/or other."
The play will be presented this Saturday, March 16, at Phoenix Hostel and Cultural Center, from 7-9 p.m.
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There is a $5 charge to attend, of which is donated to a local artist to continue the support for art. Wine and snacks will also be provided, and families are strongly encouraged to attend with children, says Stephens.