TBA 2015 Diaries: Holcombe Waller's "Requiem Mass: LGBT / Working Title"

Events at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral inevitably assume a certain spiritual significance. Holcombe Waller's Requiem Mass was no different.

Even newcomers who are skeptical of organized religion can hardly help being awed by the century-old Gothic edifice. And those skeptic were likely a sizable share of the audience crowding Waller's Requiem Mass:LGBT/Working Title last Friday for the kick-off of PICA's 13th annual Time-Based Art Festival.

Waller, who PICA commissioned to headline its popular arts event, dedicated his play on a Mass to everyone who has suffered persecution for sexual or gender diversity.

The local indie-pop polymath turned multi-disciplinary composer invited anyone interested to join his choral company on stage for the weekend's performances. Maybe the venue was partially responsible, but the sense of community involvement felt palpable.

He stood at the lectern, reading personal comments that audience members wrote down before the show about their own expeeriences with sexual diversity and persecution.

Not that Cathedral requires embelishment, but staging was stark. The only real attempt at set-dressing was an arena-rock-styled assemblage of balloons that spelled out “LGBT” backwards, only legible to the people on stage. 

As the unlikely Mass concluded, it's select participants triumphantly marched under the LGBT balloons, through the pews and down the center aisle, intentionally mirroring what you might see come Sunday morning.