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A Temperamental Topic

Earlier this month, Boston Children’s Theatre presented Reflections of a Rock Lobster, the real story of a 1980’s high school student who sues his school for the right to take his boyfriend to prom. Tackling the issues of prejudice, bullying, homosexuality and civil liberties, the show was performed by and for high school students.

For many Massachusetts residents, the topic of homosexuality and gay rights brings up quite a bit of history and emotional responses. With Massachusetts being the first state to allow same-sex marriage in 2004 and the host to the large annual Boston Pride celebration in June, there can be no doubt as to the continuing relevance of the political conversation.

Lyric Stage Company’s The Temperamentals takes another look at a much less tolerant time in the history of LGBT rights. Before high school student Alan Fricke’s 1980’s prom date court case and even before the official start of the LGBT movement with the 1969 Stonewall Riots, there were still people and organizations starting to work towards LGBT rights. In 1950, Communist party member Harry Hay formed the Mattachine Society, one of the first homophile organizations in the United States. Hay became one of the first ones to identify homosexuals as a minority group. Hay and his friends canvassed well-known homosexual meeting places in Los Angeles and used Mattachine as a way to unite and protect homosexuals against the common victimization and prejudice of the time. The Temperamentals, titled for the code word for homosexuals in the 1950’s, follows Harry Hay’s initial forming of the Mattachine Society and his relationship with fellow society member Rudi Gernreich.

The Temperamentals opens tonight and will run through April 28.