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Ferguson’s fight for gay rights in the limelight in New York

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Man Overboard!!!: The poster for Bermudian comedian Roderick Ferguson’s New York performance (Photograph supplied)

Coming out as gay and a historic fight for same sex marriage are highlighted in a Bermudian actor’s new comedy special.

Roderick Ferguson, who lives in New York City, will stage Man Overboard!!!, in his new home town.

The cabaret-style performance looks at Mr Ferguson’s life as a gay man in Bermuda and includes the story of his court action against the Government to legalise same-sex marriage.

But Mr Ferguson said: “Pure entertainment is my agenda – it is not to shed light on mental health or gay rights or even what’s going on in Bermuda.

“All of the stories are vehicles to genuinely entertain an audience and I do that with humour.”

Mr Ferguson added: “If someone finds it helpful to see someone who has healed enough from a difficult time to be able to see the humour in it then that might be a good experience for them.”

Man Overboard!!! was styled as a stand-up show with musical performances.

It is directed by Faith Prince and was shown in Boston last month and in Provincetown, Massachusetts in June.

Mr Ferguson, a professional comedian, said he wrote the show last year in lockdown at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He explained that he was taking a class on dramatic storytelling at the time and decided his 2018 decision to sue the Government was “a story worth telling”.

Mr Ferguson admitted that he feared a homophobic backlash from telling his story – and also feared that the show would be a failure.

He said: “A lot of people who loved me were afraid for me and advised against this.

“But I also had people who loved me who weren’t afraid for me and supported me.

“I just hated the idea of letting the fear of what would just amount to further bullying prevent me from doing what I thought was right.”

Mr Ferguson said that, although Man Overboard!!! was a comedy special, it covered serious topics such as suicide and homophobia.

But he added that he used comedy to lighten the mix and had tried to preserve the story’s underlying message of self-acceptance.

Mr Ferguson said: “Because I treat them with humour, people can digest these issues that most people like to steer away from.”

He added: “It talks about the shared experience of facing a big decision or having people who love them worrying about them but then coming through to support them.

“It’s not so much about the court case – though of course that’s interesting – but the human aspect, which is what audiences connect with.”

Man Overboard!!! will be at Don’t Tell Mama, a restaurant and performance club in Manhattan’s Theatre District, on November 12, with two more performances on December 4 and 5.

Roderick Ferguson (Photograph supplied)

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Published November 03, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated November 03, 2021 at 7:39 am)

Ferguson’s fight for gay rights in the limelight in New York

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