Sex, Death, and the Queer Future in Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's boom"
One of the questions that drives Murder Most Queer is "How do theatre artists engage with the homophobic ideologies that continue to circulate in American culture?" While the "homicidal homosexual" is one of the most pernicious homophobic constructs, it's not the only one.
Take, for example, the trope of homosexuality as a "barren lifestyle" that contributes nothing to the future. The thinking behind this homophobic perspective is neatly summed up in this quote from a conservative columnist writing for the Washington Times in 2011:
By its very nature, homosexuality cannot fulfill the primary function of sex: procreation and the reproduction of the human race. It is inherently a socially barren act. A homosexual society is a childless one—doomed to extinction.
The question of how queer people might contribute (or fail to contribute) to the future is taken up by the playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb in his smart, funny, and widely-produced comedy boom [with a small b]. This apocalyptic sex farce follows the travails of a gay male biologist and the female journalist who refuses to have sex with him, even though they are literally the last people on earth. The play, which has had over 100 productions since it premiered in 2008, wrestles with the "reproductive imperative" and comes to some surprising, perhaps even radical, conclusions.
In the latest issue of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre (JADT), I explore boom in relation to other apocalyptic dramas, as well as recent theories about queer futurity. Since JADT has gone fully electric, the article, entitled "Refusing the Reproductive Imperative: Sex, Death, and the Queer Future in Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's boom" is available on-line, with no subscription necessary.