From Conrad Askland, writer of the musical “Pray the Gay Away”
Back in 2017 I was touring Europe with a show while working on early drafts of my script for the musical “Pray the Gay Away”. During that time I had written a song for my friend Lindsey Bowen (PTGA co-director) called “Lindsey Bird”. It was recorded in a hotel room in Prague with the violinist that was performing on tour with me.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the music and the contemplative nature of the violin performance and would often listen to it before working on the PTGA script. I realized the piece was becoming a sort of “centering piece” for me as I worked on PTGA so I put related images to the song that reminded me of the larger feeling that initially inspired the PTGA project: the modern history of Human Rights.
The music of “Lindsey Bird” has little to do with the actual music of PTGA as far as style. What you will see in this video is the opposing nature of disturbing imagery placed with beautiful music. I find this kind of interplay very disturbing and moving. That overall concept is very much at the heart of PTGA. This interplay of music and visual content expresses feelings in a way that I cannot properly express in words alone. That concept is also at the heart of PTGA: combining words, music and imagery to express a wide variety of emotions that those elements might not be able to fully express alone.
When people ask me what the musical “Pray the Gay Away” is, it’s a difficult question for me to answer because I am so close to the project. I am also very aware that an author’s intent and an audience member’s experience may be very different. In my opinion, an author’s intent is secondary to the audience experience. What I wanted to share with you is the centering piece that was part of the early developmental stages of the musical “Pray the Gay Away.”
This video breaks my heart. It breaks my heart every time I watch it. The humor of “Pray the Gay Away” is actually social commentary. For some, that realization settles in very quickly and for others it is a slower realization. This piece was the ground zero for most of it.