"There was this girl — Stephen Spinella (who played the central protagonist, a homosexual with AIDS) was sitting next to me — she said, "Everything I have ever been taught has taught me to hate you for being who you are. And I love you.' And she burst into tears.

"If that's the only thing that we did ... it's changed me, because I've always been so suspicious of the American theater audience. I viewed them as hostile. I assumed they wouldn't like anything that I did. I couldn't comfort myself with that anymore. It is a comfort when you think it's just going to go over their heads, (that) they're not going to like it. I realized people will go where you take them, if you take them in the right way. They'll go anywhere."

The New Theatre presents Tongue of a Bird at the St. Louis University Theatre, 3633 W. Pine Mall, with a preview at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 8, and the opening at 8 p.m. Friday, July 9. The play runs through July 25, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 531-8330 for tickets.

Ellen McLaughlin
Jennifer Silverberg
Ellen McLaughlin

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