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“Time is On Our Side” Queers the History of Our Ancestors

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As the theater’s are closed due to COVID, it leaves us with little choice, but to read play scripts instead, especially scripts by LGBTQ playwrights, about LGBTQ content. “Time is On Our Side” by Thomas R. Eric, which is availabe on the New Plays Exchange https://newplayexchange.org/plays/36366/time-our-side, fits the bill perfectly. The play is about Annie, and Curtis, who have a podcast about Philadelphia’s history. As the play progresses, history becomes increasingly personal are try to decipher the mysterious diaries of Annie’s grandparents. Who is this Bea that Annie’s grandmother, Gisella, keeps writing about? What does the shorthand in Annie’s grandfather, Lawrence’s, diary mean?

The play grapples with meaningful questions, such as who does the past belong to? What stories do we have the right to tell? Do family members have a greater right to their relatives story than others? How do we ethically unearth LGBTQ history? Can this history be sold for profit?

They are difficult questions to answer, but the play handles it well. When people are constantly trying to erase LGBTQ existance, our history is more important than ever. Sometimes that will mean doing some digging, and asking some difficult questions. In the play, a character named Rene says, “You think it’s too easy to say that our story is a mystery though? Like is it that or is it that people aren’t trying to understand it? Maybe we’re standing at the end of the story gathering clues. Or maybe it was never so mysterious at all. You just have to know where to look.” Looking comes from asking difficult questions and I say it’s worth it. As the lesbian poet, Sappho wrote, “Someone will remember us, if only in a different time.” We exist. We have always existed.

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