Legislating Love-The Everett Klippert Story (A review)

We laughed. We cried. We were entertained. We felt.

Sage Theatre’s world premier presentation of Legislating Love-The Everett Klippert Story is a powerful telling of an almost forgotten piece of Canada’s history.

Along the way, you will be drawn into the lives of the four characters. You will be there with them, living their lives, feeling what they feel. You don’t need to be queer, or even know someone on the LGBTQI2S+ spectrum to see this play. You only need to care about our common humanity.

Klippert was not an outspoken activist, he just kept living his life, in spite of its personal cost to him. You will sit down to watch a play, you will walk away believing in the power of one person’s existence to quietly change things.

Set mainly in the 60’s, this history is recent, a good many of us were already alive when it unfolded.  What we couldn’t have known at the time though was the long-lasting impact of the life of one of Calgary’s favourite bus drivers, the staunchly homosexual Everett George Klippert. His imprisonment for gross indecency, buggery and all the other charges the law could come up with for consensual sex between adult males became a turning point for the Canadian identity.

As it happens, he was the last to be jailed for these “crimes”, but as he had been charged before the law was changed, he was not released, nor his record expunged.  Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the prime minister of the time, may have said “that the state had no business in the bedrooms of the nation” but it has taken many more years to move towards true equality. And it has been left to his son, the current prime minister, to apologize for the mass firings or “purge” of homosexual government workers and military personnel that occured not so many generations ago.

The simple set was artfully used to tell Klippert’s tale, interwoven with a modern love story.  The political landscape has changed, but for some, the social landscape has not.  The themes of acceptance and listening to the voices of marginalized people were also explored in this 90-minute play, masterfully written by Natalie Meisner.

Sage Theatre is an intimate venue, tucked away on 10 Ave SW on the edge of Calgary’s downtown.  For more information, check out their website at sagetheatre.com

And if you hurry, you can still see Legislating Love, it is on until March 31, 2018

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