A production of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi in Greece has been canceled and its cast and producers charged with blasphemy.
The play, which imagines Jesus and the Apostles as modern-day gay men in Texas, had drawn violent protests by priests and members of the nationalist party Golden Dawn, Reuters reports.
Director Laertis Vasilio, one of the defendants named in a lawsuit filed by Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus, said authorities should be focusing on Greece’s crippling corruption scandals: “What I see is that there are people who have robbed the country blind who are not in jail and the prosecutor turns against art.” Vasiliou and his crew face several months in prison if found guilty of insulting religion, malicious blasphemy and other charges.Dozens of demonstrators, including some from Golden Dawn, blocked the entrance of the theater and clashed with police on the night of its premiere last month.Bearded black-robed priests holding crosses were shown on television tearing up posters promoting the play. The Orthodox Church is an integral part of Greek society and a powerful institution.
This is hardly the first time Corpus Christi has faced such ire—playwright McNally received death threats during its 1998 Broadway run, and a documentary about the play brought out Christian groups when it screened in April in San Francisco.