An actor in a Santa Clarita, Calif. production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” was fired Saturday after physically removing a heckler in the audience who lobbed anti-gay slurs at the cast for nearly half of the show. John Lacy, who played Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams’ classic play that tackles homophobia among other themes, was fired after jumping off stage and physically confronting an audience member who repeatedly made noise and yelled “fag” during emotionally tense scenes, according to audience members’ accounts of the incident on Facebook. The show apparently continued following the confrontation and concluded to a standing ovation. Lacy was apparently not let go until after the performance.
One of the show's leads resigned in solidarity with Lacy—but other actors in the Repertory East Playhouse production took to Facebook to defend his firing. One actor stated that Lacy put the entire cast and audience at risk: "What if this guy had a weapon?” Welcome to America, where we must defer to bigoted idiots at all times because our bigoted idiots tend to be armed. Another actor outed herself as something of an idiot:
Fellow actress Emily E. Low, who plays the female lead, agreed that violence should not have been the answer, adding that part of acting is accepting criticism from the audience. “As actors we must take the positive audience responses with the negative. It's not always about cheers and standing ovations,” she wrote in the same Facebook thread. Low added that Troy's character, Brick, is gay, suggesting that the heckler's anti-gay slurs may have been appropriate. “And, the truth is, Brick is, after all, a gay man,” she wrote.
So it's cool to scream "faggot!" during a play if there's a gay character on stage. Good to know.
UPDATE: Actress Emily Low wrote in to debate Dan's interpretation of events. Her letter is after the jump.
You have reported false facts about me in your article regarding Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. I NEVER suggested that the anti-gay slurs were appropriate. In fact quite the opposite. I NEVER said what the hecklers did was okay. I said that this play's subject matter elicits a strong audience reaction and we need to be prepared as professional actors to deal with the negative and positive audience responses. I don't feel violence is the proper way to deal with it. I never ever said the use of the word "fag" was okay. It's not. It's disgusting. Please adjust your facts.