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Queer Spirituality and the Ethics of the Open Horizon in Geoffrey Nauffts's Next Fall

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Does God love gay people? Do gay, lesbian and transgendered people have the right to religious experience and spiritual development? Can one be gay and Christian? Do sexual orientation and sexual practices labelled as abhorrent within mainstream religious doctrine and dogma block 'queer' individuals from the salvation and redemption offered to those who choose to follow the prescriptions of theological cosmologies? Is celibacy the only choice that the sexually scrutinized can make in order to be saved within the discourse of theological morality? How does one reconcile a forgiving Jesus with an unforgiving religion? In the public sphere, these are few of the ethical questions around homosexuality, faith in God and religion in the United States raised in Geoffrey Nauffts's Next Fall (2009).1 Theatre practice allows us to grapple with these challenging ideological and legal issues through the experience of real time and imagined characters. This unique combination of phenomenology and fictional representations of character types creates an ethical laboratory through which to experiment with the inherent tensions in these complex issues. This article will examine how Next Fall challenges both the ideology of religion and the ideology of what it means to be a gay man in contemporary times.

Keywords: Broadway; Geoffrey Nauffts; identity politics; queer theory; spirituality; theology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Villanova University

Publication date: August 9, 2012

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  • Performing Ethos is a refereed, interdisciplinary journal which considers ethical questions relating to contemporary theatre and live performance. Global in scope, it provides a unique forum for rigorous scholarship and serious reflection on the ethical dimensions of a wide range of performance practices from the politically and aesthetically radical to the mainstream.
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