Richard Cant stars in this exploration of the life of legendary gay writer Merle Miller.
A year after the Stonewall Riots, Harper's Magazine published the article 'Homo/hetero: the struggle for sexual identity'. Acclaimed journalist and former editor of Harper’s, Merle Miller reads the article from his home in upstate New York and decides to take a stand.
'What It Means' charts LGBTQAI+ history alongside some personal stories of Miller's - including tales of writer's block, cheesecake, and Big Foot.
Richard Cant ('Orlando') plays Merle Miller in this production, which is directed by Harry Mackrill.
“The play certainly has merit: it is both an important historical record and a reflection of our here and now. But as drama, it’s unsatisfying: when sparks should fly or anger bubble, instead we’re left flat.”
“Part of this play’s power lies in its timing...As Miller lays into politicians who cynically target gay people to win elections, it’s impossible not to be reminded of the UK government’s transphobic statements in recent weeks. Miller’s appeal to us bridges time and place, not just the gap between stage and stalls.”
“...playwright James Corley cleverly unpicks Miller’s landmark essay, remaking an argument into a collage of anecdote and emotion. The lines are searingly memorable but Richard Cant’s superb Merle turns analysis into a churn of fear and fury. A groundbreaking op-ed becomes vital theatre.”
“ ‘What it Means’ is an important historical contribution about the realities for the LGBT committee in the early 1970s. Cant’s interactions with the audience provide relief from a serious topic, but also allow the audience space to reflect.”
“The subject matter is so thoroughly explored, delving into the mind of this brilliant forebear of post-Stonewall gay literature, that these issues can be forgiven. Above all, ’What It Means’ is a momentous testament to queer literary heritage, and a full-hearted statement of our need to continue speaking up.”