Arthur Laurents Extended

Charles Kaiser and Arthur Laurents continue their conversation.

BY Advocate.com Editors

May 11 2009 12:00 AM ET

Because this authority, this psychiatric authority figure... because certainly the conventional wisdom among psychiatrists in '47 or '48, the conventional wisdom of psychiatrists and most gay people......Was to go get cured.

Because there's something wrong with you. And here's this guy who says no, not necessarily.Actually he said what I was hoping he'd say.

But you were surprised when he said it, surely.I was moved. Terribly moved. Because it went deeper than just being gay. What he said about living your life with pride and dignity. Because I could have said it's OK to be gay. But when Tom came to live with me we could have been secretive about it, and we weren't.

You never were -- not even at the beginning?No. It didn't occur to us. The psychiatrist had done such a good job on me.

You didn't hold hands in public...No but I don't like that anyway. I'm really suspicious of people who are all over each other in public. Straight or gay. The minute they're all over each other, to me it's, 'Me thinks the lady dost protest too much.' If you really feel it, you don't have to show it. It's like acting. So busy telling when they don't have to.

What's the first play you did with a gay element?The Enclave. It was about a group of friends, grouped around the central character, who's a closet gay. Put music to it and what have you got? Company . Of course he's not gay in Company ...[Laurents smiles.]

Did Stonewall change your life at all? I have a monologue by a 17-year-old kid in Radical Mystique who says he was there with the Judy people -- because her funeral was that day. And he met an older man -- an NYU student-and fell in love.

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