Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them, humanity cannot survive.
— Dalai Lama

Letter from the Writer

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Inspired by the Dalai Lama’s words, I asked myself if I could find compassion for someone who everyone loves to hate. Little did I know this question would spark my journey of writing Question 1, the ultimate culmination of my lifelong passions for music, activism, politics, and storytelling. How long did Question 1 take to write? A lifetime …

“No one wants their child to be gay,” I was told by a parent of one of my students. While the parent’s words were disheartening to hear, their flippant tone was even more heartbreaking, especially knowing they are actually a parent of a gay child. This is why I wrote Question 1.

An 18-year-old high-school student from a small town in Montana (where I was playing some summer stock theater) showed me the emails his parents sent to him after kicking him out of the house. The emails espoused why they believed they were incapable of loving him until he renounced his homosexuality. He has since left the country and became a teacher, leaving behind a chasm of pain that might never be healed. This is why I wrote Question 1.

Tyler Clementi, an 18-year old violinist and Rutgers student, leaped off the George Washington Bridge just four miles away from where I was going to school. He took his life after his roommate felt it was okay to cyberbully him on account of Tyler’s sexual orientation. This is why I wrote Question 1.

Backstage at Fun Home, personal letters addressed to the company by people deeply affected by the show detailed how Fun Home helped empower them to come out of the closet, to face their otherwise debilitating fears, to become true to themselves and others, and to see the beauty that resides within them. If I can bring one person light during their time of darkness, or just encourage one person to show compassion to another, then this journey of writing Question 1 will have been well worth every moment.

“Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need.” – Dalai Lama

Chris Reza
Question 1 – Book, Music, & Lyrics