Article Title:I Love You Bro
Author or Daily News staff
Published on:3rd August 2011 - 12:11 pm
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Story ID:10687
Text:Everything your parents are afraid of about the internet probably comes true in the latest Silo offering I Love You Bro, a play which delves into the warped worlds of a clever but lonely teenage chat room junkie, who convinces the boy he falls for to try to murder him through a web of fake identities and bizarre deceit. Actor Tim Carlsen not only has to portray this boy, but another 12 roles in the one-man show which is currently onstage at the Herald Theatre in Auckland. Not surprisingly he lists it as the most challenging thing he has ever done and he's had to build up a lot of stamina to be able to pull it off: "There's quite a lot that goes on, there's very few stops, so it's been a great challenge to build up fitness around holding the show," he says. Based on a true story of a teenager who conspired to murder himself in the UK, I Love You Bro is rather hauntingly relevant when you look at media coverage which exposed Natalia Burgess, an Aucklander who allegedly made fake Facebook profiles and messed with the hearts and minds of young men across the country. Carlsen says the play is definitely hugely reflective of what is happening today, but when you strip the story back it's also something that is far from new: It's about love and falling in love and someone trying to find connection. "But when he finds that connection he gets a big hit out of it, because suddenly he gets empowered in controlling something else," he says. The actor says it never explicitly says the main character, Johnny, is gay in the story. "But he's only 14. And clearly he's probably confused about his own sexuality. And meets this other boy online Mark, and Mark is everything that Johnny isn't. Mark's someone who's popular at school, good at sport – he's someone that Johnny completely idolises. I'm not sure if he more falls in love with the idea of Mark being his idol or if it's pure sexual attraction. I think it's a bit of both actually." Carlsen says Johnny doesn't seem to have figured out whether he is gay or not just yet. "It's interesting, because when we were rehearsing we talked a lot about boys around that age and I wasn't a boarder, but I went to a boarding school, and I heard about boys around that age experimenting with their sexuality. I guess I can relate to this story through those experiences. It's not something we talk about so much, boys really experimenting around similar things that happened in the story." Taking himself back to being 14 and holding the show together with the central role, as well as 12 others, has been an interesting experience for Carlsen, who says he was very different from Johnny at the age of 14. "But there are definitely qualities about him I can relate to from when I was 14. His sense of, when he does find something he is attracted to or he loves, it's very intense and the stakes are very high - that kind of teenage obsession that we sometimes face when we're teenagers." After two solo shows in a row, which he has enjoyed, Carlsen does admit he is looking forward to the next acting task he has where he's part of a rather large ensemble cast. "I'll have some company," he laughs. Daily News staff - 3rd August 2011    
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