Screening as part of the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival, the life of Tony Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Terrence McNally gets the documentary treatment in Jeff Kaufman’s Every Act of Life.
An iconic playwright who was one the first to write gay characters into his plays, McNally’s decades-long career has produced over forty plays, including Love! Valour! Campassion! and the controversial Corpus Christi, featuring a a gay Jesus. He has written the book for the musicals The Full Monty and Kiss of the Spider Woman and has even written for opera.
In Kaufman’s film, we learn of McNally’s childhood, raised by alcoholic parents, and a father who was physical abusive. We discover his many lovers over his lifetime including two alcoholics, two who died from AIDS, a woman, and more. McNally is now happily married to Tom Kirdahy, a Broadway producer and former civil rights attorney for a not-for-profit AIDS organization. We also discover McNally to be an intense and demanding artist who struggled with his own alcoholism. It all adds up to make his triumphs even more profound.
Using dozens of celebrity interviews, plus video clips from McNally’s plays and movie adaptations, director Jeff Kaufman underscores the writer’s passion and humanity. The power of art to connect, enlighten and move is dynamically felt in this documentary piece, and at its conclusion uses the beauty of one of McNally’s most famous monologues to bring tears.
Every Act of Life is a brilliant documentary about a talented artist, who is still working today.
Every Act of Life screens as part of the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival on 10 August 2018 at 9:30 pm at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Visit queerfilmfestival.ca for tickets and information.