While Hilary Clinton takes a stab at peace in the Middle East, Vancouver actor and theatre producer Adam Bergquist is looking to unite two sometimes equally divisive groups, religion and the gay community, through the Pacific Theatre /one2theatre co-production of The Busy World is Hushed opening September 24th.
“This show is going to make everyone friends. It’s time to kiss and make up,” said Bergquist (pictured right). Lofty goals indeed from a single theatre production, but Bergquist asserts that in giving equal time to both religion and the gay community, The Busy World is Hushed holds something for both sides to learn from.
“I hope Christians and other religious or conservative people will see this show and realize that homosexuality is nothing to be afraid of. I also hope gay people who normally shun contact with religion will come and see that they are not unwelcome there.”
Bergquist’s second point is reinforced in a belief that churches all over Canada are finally waking up and realizing that they’ve been making way too big a deal over this same-sex issue for far too long. “It’s time to get over it, let it go, get back to loving people. That’s what they’re supposed to do anyway”.
No stranger to the conservative religious point-of-view, Bergquist himself grew up within the Lutheran faith. While he says his upbringing was more conservative by default, by the simple fact of living in rural Alberta, advice from his Lutheran pastor left him with the impression that while it was okay to be gay, it was better not to be. It wasn’t until age 22 that Bergquist, visiting San Francisco with his brother, experienced his first “gay church with its wife-wife lesbian pastors” and where he says he began to see there was more than one way of looking at things.
It probably also helps that Bergquist’s own brother is gay: “I know he had his own inner turmoil reconciling his desire with what he saw around him,” explained Bergquist. “It took him a while to come out, but it has been a wonderful gift for those who love him to stand with him and have themselves changed by their love for him”.
As a straight man playing a gay character, Bergquist obviously has his brother to look at for inspiration for his character but he has also found himself spending time “anywhere you’d find a higher than average percentage of gay people” which apparently included a number of businesses on Davie Street, St Paul’s and at the home of friends Jason and Rob. “You could say that everyone has a gay character in them whether they know it or not. But for me especially I have so many gay friends and close relatives who are gay I don’t really see it as a singular type. This story is primarily about love so as an actor I look at the person I am in love with and endow them with whatever I need to make it authentic.”
But more than a question of whether it’s okay to be gay and religious, Bergquist sees the play dealing with some bigger life questions as well. “What can we afford to lose and how do we find our true home while staying true to ourselves?” And it is in the primary story of love that Bergquist is convinced The Busy World is Hushed holds something for everyone. “Well, everyone who’s ever loved and lost, had a parent or lost a parent, had a child or lost a child, been angry at religion or been comforted by religion”.
And while we can’t say for sure what kind of impact The Busy World is Hushed will have in fully uniting religion and the gay community, it is pretty evident that if Bergquist has his way, it will at least be a bridge.
The Busy World is Hushed
24 September – 16 October 2010
When a widowed Episcopal minister hires an agnostic gay man as her scholarly assistant she may have found the missing link in an estranged relationship with her wayward son. Mixing sexual politics with spiritual contradictions, her motivations are called into question when secrets from the past begin to surface. A powerful exploration of faith and fear, The Busy World is Hushed probes the passions and distortions of religion, relationships, and the human heart. Tickets are available online or by calling 604.731.5518.