Like the Plaza Theatre, another cultural institution, the Loose Moose Theatre Company was an early adopter of gay content in Calgary. Founded in 1977, Loose Moose is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Back in 1980, it co-produced along with Gay Information and Resources Calgary (GIRC), Fortune and Men’s Eyes.
Fortune and Men’s Eyes is a play set in a Canadian prison for youth and deals with society’s injustice towards gay people. Written in Canada’s Centennial Year, 1967, by John Herbert, the play shocked audiences and helped force Canadian society to acknowledge the existence and rights of homosexuals.
“Norman Nadel, reviewing the play for the New York Tribune, claimed the homosexual drama was so disgusting that the mention of someone vomiting in the prison’s off-stage toilet came like a breath of spring. Herbert Whittaker, in the Globe and Mail, called the play ‘the art of washing our dirty linen in the neighbor’s yard.'”*
Playwright John Herbert was born in Toronto, Ontario, October 13, 1926; and died in Toronto on June 22, 2001. The twelve editions of Fortune and Men’s Eyes published by Grove Press in New York have made it the most published Canadian play in history. It won the 1975 Chalmers Award for best Canadian play, and has been published in several Canadian play anthologies. MGM adapted the play for film in 1970, using a former Quebec City prison as its set.
* from the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia entry for Fortune and Men’s Eyes
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