Article Title:Preview: The Pride
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:9th August 2012 - 01:42 pm
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Story ID:12107
Text:Simon London Silo Theatre’s production of acclaimed play The Pride opens in Auckland on Friday night. Actor Simon London explains his dual roles in the work, which he says is both confronting and uplifting. Set in both 1958 and 2008, The Pride is described as “an erotic time warp” which looks at attitudes to love and sexuality on both sides of the sexual revolution. The deliciously handsome Simon London is probably best-known to gay audiences for his bed-hopping turn as Larry in the revival of The Boys in the Band, but has also had a number of TV and movie roles such as Amy's German prince Hans in Go Girls and the snobbishly witty Eric in My Wedding and Other Secrets. After a year or so living in Sydney, he has crossed back over the ditch for the dual role of Phillip in The Pride – he plays two men with the same name who live in different times. Phillip is part of a complex love triangle which shifts from 1958, to 2008, and back again. “They are not the same person but they are linked,” London says of his two characters. “Their actions effect each other through time, not directly but in a sense that individuals who are part of something larger, like a social group, influence the future of that group and its individuals.” London explains that in 1958, Phillip is deeply in denial about his sexuality, a victim of a much less tolerant time who desperately holds onto his ‘normal’ life. When he meets a friend of his wife he is faced with powerful emotions which throw everything into a spin for him. “Phillip 2008 however is probably the most evolved character in the play. He is openly gay, centred, and wants nothing more than to have a safe and loving relationship with his partner Oliver. The difficulty for him is that Oliver can’t stop being promiscuous.” The Pride is the debut of gay writer Alexi Kaye Campbell which earned him the Critics Circle Award, the John Whiting Award, a GLAAD Award and a Laurence Olivier Award. London says the extraordinary writing attracted him to the role. “Every scene and every character have real depth and journey,” he says. “The language is exciting and is rich with ideas and imagery. It’s such a treat to work with good writing. Writing that deals with deep human emotion and does it with truth and energy. Hats off to Alexi Kaye Campbell.” A promotional shot for The Pride Raising questions about the benefits of sexual liberation, London says the play is quite confronting at times, but also very uplifting, and suggests that while things have changed, they aren’t perfect. “They’ve just changed. They’ve evolved. Old issues have been overcome but there are new issues to face. From my perspective things do seem to have improved, but I do think gay marriage would be a step in the right direction.” Alongside London in The Pride is actor Kip Chapman, who wrote and directed all-gay cabaret Songs for Guy in 2010 and won a Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for his turn as rent-boy Alex in the Wellington production of The Little Dog Laughed. Chapman and London will be joined onstage by Dena Kennedy and Sam Snedden in the production, which is directed by Sophie Roberts. After his time in New Zealand, London will head back to Sydney where he is continuing to work to forge ahead in his career, and enjoying the opportunities a bigger city offers. “We get concerts and exhibitions and training opportunities coming through that just don’t come to New Zealand unfortunately. Acting work-wise it takes time in a new place. But I’m meeting lots of great people and starting to get the auditions. I feel like the wheels are turning. I just got a role in an independent feature which is shooting in Sydney so I’m pumped about doing that when I go back,” he says. “I would love to come back and work here more but I have a good life in Sydney.” The Pride plays at the Herald Theatre from 10 August – 1 September and you can buy tickets here Jacqui Stanford - 9th August 2012    
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