Interview: Olivier Award-winning playwright Stef Smith on Glasgay! commission, Cured
- David Pollock
- 14 October 2013
The play tackles the issue of the American camps which claim to 'cure' homosexuality
This brand new Glasgay! commission from Olivier Award-winning (for Roadkill) playwright Stef Smith and Ros Philips, her directorial partner on the 2011 transgender drama Falling/Flying, pulls together two themes. First, the predominantly American phenomenon of ‘cure camps’, where homosexual people are apparently ‘cured’ of their sexual orientation, and second, the experiences of gay people who choose to come out later in life.
‘People enter these places for all sorts of reasons,’ says Smith during the first week of rehearsals. ‘Lots of young people are forced to join these camps by their parents, while some people believe that homosexuality is a sin. But there are also secular people who engage with the camps – it isn’t exclusively those with conservative religious backgrounds. I think we like to believe that homophobia’s something exclusively from the religious right wing, but that isn’t the case.’
Smith says there’s no shortage of ‘scary’ information online about both the experiences and the techniques used in the ‘curing’ process. Her research has produced a two-hander in which Julie Hale plays a conflicted woman and Mary Gapinski is her mother, her lover and her contact at the clinic. ‘There’s humour in the piece and also a tenderness between the characters,’ she says, ‘because after all, there’s a mother-daughter relationship and a storyline about two people falling in love. I hope the piece reflects the complexity of the themes – I think there’s both light and dark in this story, and maybe even a few surprises.’
Arches, Glasgow, Tues 22–Sat 26 Oct.