MinneCulture | Patrick Scully Brings Walt Whitman Out Into the 21st Century

MinneCulture | Patrick Scully Brings Walt Whitman Out Into the 21st Century

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Leaves of Grass – Illuminated is a live performance film of Patrick Scully’s acclaimed stage play by the same name. Scully performs the role of revered American poet Walt Whitman, transported to the 21st century with a mission: to proudly come out as a gay man, and witness a time his dreams have manifested, when men could love men freely.

In this production, Scully illuminates and impersonates Whitman, by sharing his story and his personal battles with the puritan morals of his time, via spoken word, art, video and dance.

“I realized by substituting Walt Whitman for my own autobiography as the content, I could take the same intention, which was to bring stories of same sex loving people out into the world,” says Scully. “But I could possibly do it more effectively than I’ve been able to, to this point with my own story, because more people recognize Walt Whitman’s name.”

Documentary filmmaker Mark Wojahn directed and Greg Winter filmed the stage performance at the Guthrie Theater in 2019.

KFAI’s Cyn Collins filed this audio feature about the production. Listen here:

Support for MinneCulture on KFAI comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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