Two men kiss on stage during play about murder, controversy follows

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A play about murder containing a brief moment of romance has sparked a conversation among patrons of Pioneer Theatre Company, the professional company located on the campus of the University of Utah.

It wasn't supposed to be controversial. Deathtrap was written by Ira Levin 36 years ago. It was made into a movie starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve...rated PG.

But, SPOILER ALERT (does that count after 36 years?): Two men kiss at the end of the first act.

It's more than a peck on the cheek and less than a make-out: a romantic kiss that lingers an estimated 3-4 seconds.

"I think most of our patrons are enjoying the production and the shocking revelation that the kiss provides," said Chris Lino, the managing director at Pioneer Theatre Company.

One of his patrons disagrees, strongly.

"I was infuriated with the explicit, homosexual display on stage because I had brought my teenage son to see the seemingly innocuous play," said an e-mail writer Lino has chosen not to name because he said he wants to encourage the conversation but doesn't want to point fingers.

The emailer told Lino she had taken her son to Deathtrap after reading an advisory that did not warn about the homosexual kiss.

""I have NEVER been so disgusted and infuriated!" she wrote. "My real desire is that you could erase the images in my son's mind and in mine."

Lino posted his response on the theater's Facebook page as well.

"We're just play acting. But we're showing people planning and executing gruesome and bloody murders and we show a brief same sex kiss," said Lino. "The depiction of a bloody murder is acceptable but a kiss is not."

But local parent and media watchdog Brian Urie said, while he is not familiar with the play, he understands the concerns expressed by the e-mailer.

"Somewhere I'd like some standardization before taking my kids to live theater," Urie said.

The theater posted the full letter as well as their response on their Facebook page, which has been provided below:


  • adventuresofanaussieragdoll

    What sort of person goes to the theatre to see a play (which has been around on stage, and screen for well over 35 years), and does not take a few minutes to do some research on what the play is about? Only a fool who then wants to complain about their own error in judgement. I wouldn’t go see Deathtrap. Only because I find it a boring play. Oh, and I already knew about the relationship between the two characters. That it is boring was more of an issue.

  • Rebecca

    This is bull, I wouldn’t want to see it either, so because we don’t agree with something we are bigots? Seriously? You people need to stop throwing names and spewing BS , you seriously need to get a friggin clue!

    • Taren

      It’s not about whether you agree with the kiss or not.
      Just like in the reply; so it’s ok for you’re teenage son to see a play depicting murder. But according to you in this day and age the kiss was more offensive? Seriously get over yourself.
      -side note- if you were so concerned about the plays content, do research on what your viewing. This play is 36 years old! You can’t then go in and get upset about the plot which hasn’t changed in decades.
      If you’re this upset about a twist in plot; I fully expect you to have written a letter for every m knight shamaylaman movie.
      “I was offended that I wasn’t told Bruce Willis was a ghost from the very beginning!!!!”

    • idahogie

      Yes. If you don’t agree that black people should eat at the same restaurants where white people eat, then you are a bigot. If you don’t agree that Jews should lead major businesses, then you are a bigot. And if you think that two men kissing is worse then plotting a murder, then YOU ARE A BIGOT.

  • Larry Chandler

    If you are going to the theater, don’t demand that the play conform to your own standards. Theater can show you what the world is like, not just your own world.

  • Flawed

    Because people have their beliefs and voice them, they are hate-filled bigots? Everyone on both sides is doing the same thing. We are all pointing fingers and judging. Some of you think the kiss is fine and that the lady writing the letter is out of place, while on the other side people feel that she is protecting what she believes. Everyone sees things according to their own paradigm. We see what we were raised to see and where each of our own lives have taken us. For any of us to judge one another is to think that we have no problems of our own. I know I’m flawed. I know life and our culture isn’t perfect. Hating one another because of our beliefs and how we practice is not really where I think any of us want to be. I wait patiently for all of us to be more patient and loving.

    • LDS: The Book of Moron...

      You can blame religion for all of these bigotry ideals… LDS are probably the worse of them all. They don’t just hate gays and other religions, but anyone who won’t join their cult…

    • Matty

      Just because there are two sides to an issue doesn’t mean that both sides are equal. You’re saying that condemning a segment of the population you think is wrong is equal with condemning people who are specifically condemning you? In what way can that even make sense?

      Do you know what homophobia has done to me, personally? Gotten me kicked out of my home at the age of 16, left to completely support and protect myself. It’s led to failed suicide and left me on the receiving end of a moderate share of violence. Even as an adult, that trauma has endured. That’s not me looking for sympathy – there are so many others who had to endure far worse than my modest turmoil, I would feel guilty vying for such a thing.

      What has the existence of homosexuality done to alter and distort your life, honestly? …

  • marian martin

    Obviusly Obivously the young mother had researched the content of the play and was not informed of the homosexual content; had she been she would have stayed home. She was in no way trying to impose her standards on others, simply trying to live up her standards that she had set for her family. How about giving her a break for speaking up when she felt that she had been mislead!!

    • Taren

      While your thought process is great. The most hilarious part of this whole story; is that this supposed woman who was offended that her teenage was exposed to such “disgusting content”.
      What’s so hilarious, is that at intermission while this woman did leave, her son STAYED and watched the rest of the play.
      So apparently anything she’s trying to represent and live in her home, don’t really matter considering her son already did the mature thing.

  • Liesl Schultz

    She says that she has never been so disgusted in her life? Really? With all the child molestation that goes on in this country, she is more disgusted with a symbol of love? Shame on her.

  • Moi

    But it was ok that her son saw the parts about murder-she didn’t have a hissy fit about that. Maybe she should rethink taking her baby boy anywhere…..

  • Michael

    Let’s place a content warning on all Books of Mormon and require Mormon missionaries to wear content warnings on their white dress shirts.

  • Hank

    So the subscriber is upset about a kiss between two characters of the same gender, but doesn’t seem too fazed by the act of murder which precedes that kiss. Nice to know people have their priorities in order.

Comments are closed.

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