Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lending a "...Hand"

The season I spent at the Shakespeare Theatre Company allowed me to meet a whole group of talented, lovely people. And a few stinkers, too, but as I run into them occasionally, I won't name names. One of my favorites was Rob Nagle, a young actor who started the season as one of the company's non-union utility players. The Powers That Be soon realized that he was a substantial talent, and he ended up staying the entire year, playing large roles and turning Equity as well.

I haven't seen Rob since that season, well over a decade ago, but Facebook has put us back in limited touch. Along with his equally talented wife, Heather Allyn, he's living and working in Los Angeles. I'm mentioning Rob and Heather in these pages today because, late last night, Rob posted this video (below) on his Facebook page. It's a quickie, cute little public service announcement which has been running in Ireland, and it illustrates a very special gift.

The struggle for Marriage Equality is a world-wide effort, and is being helped considerably by people like the Nagles, heterosexual folks who see no reason why gays should not enjoy the same rights they themselves do. The Nagles do not find the sanctity of their marriage in any way threatened by the prospect of gay unions. And they don't mind saying so.

There are a lot of people like the Nagles out there, but precious few of them take the time and effort to let the world know their beliefs: that sexual orientation is not cause for the withholding of civil rights. Truth be told, it's not difficult to be gay-supportive in the professional theatre (in fact, the opposite is true: it is difficult to be homophobic in the theatre, as the bigot has no one to work with!). But there is still a lot of prejudice in the film world, where I believe Rob makes much of his income. So he deserves credit for letting the world know how he feels.

Interestingly, Rob posted this video last night, just minutes before his birthday, which is today.

Thanks, Rob, and Happy Birthday!