From the Fringe: ‘Chained to Freedom’

Fringe review: ‘Chained to Freedom,’ Open Door Productions, New York, NY

By Elizabeth Maupin

Alan Bounville is a man with a mission. Bounville wants to change the laws that deny gays and lesbians the same civil rights enjoyed by heterosexuals. Chained to Freedom is the story of his fight.

It’s not an especially unusual story, although it turns out that Bounville slightly knew Ryan Skipper, the gay man who was beaten and stabbed to death in rural Polk County in 2007 and has become known as Central Florida’s Matthew Shepard.

But it wasn’t Skipper’s murder that galvanized Bounville: It was the refusal of his own employer, Orlando Health, to grant domestic-partner benefits. Bounville quit his job, picketed at a corporate-sponsored event and then moved to New York to fight the fight ion a national scale.

Good activists aren’t always practiced actors, and Bounville could work on speaking up and on not making his material sound so melodramatic. (In drama, less is often more.) Still, a little agitprop theater is nearly always a good thing. I only wish Bounville weren’t preaching to the choir.

Remaining shows: 8:35 p.m. Tuesday 5/25, 10:10 p.m. Wednesday 5/26, 5:10 p.m. Friday 5/28. Yellow venue.

3 responses to “From the Fringe: ‘Chained to Freedom’

  1. Thanks for reviewing the show! And thank you for including the details of the fights the groups and I have worked on in the review – that’s exactly what I want to happen – that and to use this theatre piece as a jumping off point to where ever audience members should be going next with their struggles.

    Again – thank you very much.

  2. Tif (Todd Fernandez)

    Melodrama is under-appreciated on stage and off. I think it gets too easily dismissed because it’s easy to spot, but it has its legitimate role.

    If he was 1/2 as “melodramatic” on stage, as he is on the streets – then I would say – it’s not melodrama – its real street activism – inside the theater.

    I have lots of critic friends in NYC who I keep trying to drag out of the theater into the streets because it’s often MORE interesting in the streets.

    Sounds like Alan B is fixing that problem.

  3. Alan’s performance was truly inspiring! Not one second went by that I wasn’t on the edge of my seat. It is very clear to see that Alan is genuinely passionate about the gay movement and gay rights. Alan has a voice, and his voice is loud and strong. As a gay man, I have a feeling that we will see a lot of good coming from his activism. I would strongly recommend that everyone go see his performance and shout with him, “I AM SOMEBODY!”