Pardon Me Alan Turing, a play written and produced by Stephen Lunt, and directed by Patrick Graham, focuses on a celebrity columnist attempting to break out into more serious writing.
Attempting to write on the subject of gay rights, he looks into criminalised homosexuality and through his work conjures up from purgatory an eccentric Alan Turing, the brilliant British mathematician who committed suicide after being chemically castrated following WWII due to his homosexuality, and the flamboyant Oscar Wilde, whose homosexuality led to a court case which he lost and a subsequent prison term which all but broke his spirit and mind.
Hugely relevant in the current context of the door finally being opened to NZ pardoning some of those convicted of male homosexual acts before the Homosexual Law Reform Act, the play explores this process of pardoning the convictions of anti-homosexual legislation. In â€śexploring the criminality of homosexuality throughout history,â€ť Lunt says he decided to look beyond the actual convictions to the far greater consequences of what the laws in many countries criminalising gay male sex did to people and gay communities throughout the ages. It angered him, he says, especially the idea that a pardon would simplistically wipe out what all that had been done to those people, where the impact on their thought processes accumulated over decades.
Of the current reforms Lunt acknowledges that itâ€™s â€śamazing we are getting thisâ€ť and says he had to rewrite a few of the end scenes to fit it in with the current context.
â€śDespite the serious subject matter the play is very funnyâ€ť he advises, hoping that â€śthe audience will come to understand very important issues about human rights in gay history.â€ť Much of the comedy naturally occurs by bringing Turing and Wilde together and arises from the friction between Wildeâ€™s â€świt and comic bonesâ€ť and Turingâ€™s â€śeccentrics.â€ť
The leading characters are played by Joseph Wycoff, (This Giant Papier-Mache Boulder, Bombshell) as Alan Turing, Geoff Allen (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Dark Knight) as Oscar Wilde and David Capstick (The Catch, in cinemas now), as the columnist/writer Daniel.
The cast also includes Jacqui Whal as Sara Turing/Constance Wilde/Frank Harris/Rachel and Andrew Parker as Bosie/John Turing
Pardon Me Alan Turing opens at 7 tomorrow night at the Te Pou Theatre, 44a Portage Road, New Lynn and until the 25th of February.