Article Title:A NZ premiere: Body of Faith
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:27th May 2014 - 10:25 am
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Story ID:15152
Text:The director of a play looking at the relationship between identity and faith in the lgbt community hopes it opens the public eye to aspects of peoples' lives and struggles that are rarely put in the spotlight. The stories from Body of Faith were compiled and performed by the original cast, as well as the playwright. It’s been brought to New Zealand by Stage Two Productions and opens at Auckland University’s Musgrove Studio on Wednesday. Director Laurien Barks says it’s a unique piece, which doesn’t tell a chronological tale, but rather offers snippets and small insights into the core of people's journeys and the turning points of their lives. “It's an incredibly powerful way to view theatre,” Barks says. “We have chosen to reflect the unconventional beauty of the script's words in the way we perform it. It is less of a play, and more of a piece of art.” The director says it tells clear stories that people can relate to, but it does so in a way that is open to interpretation. “There is song, there is dance, there's abstract costuming, and a set that doesn't appear to make any sense at first glance, but it all comes together to offer up a piece of theatre that no one's ever really seen before. And that's exciting.” Barks says the play is tactful in the way it tackles “such touchy themes”. “It's beautifully written, and when I first read it, I could immediately see the amazing creative potential it had, and it was a crying shame that New Zealand hadn't been exposed to it yet. So we went about changing that.” She believes the play is a great way to open the public eye to aspects of peoples' lives and struggles that are rarely put in the spotlight. “It's deeply personal and the vulnerability of it all really shifts the focus away from sexuality influenced labels to one universal label: human. And I think that any piece of art that can dance around the religious biases of sexuality without any hint of offence is an important one. “I think no matter who you are, what your background, sexuality, or religion is, you will be enlightened in some way. There's something for everyone, there's something everyone can relate to or identify with, and a play that encapsulates an entire audience on a personal level, is a powerful thing.” Barks hopes audiences’ minds will be opened to “the vast individuality and ambiguity of a community of people that so many group together under one label”. “I hope that audiences are able to see that while sexuality is a part of us, it is not the defining feature of our identity, and there is, therefore, no justifiable reason to use it against an individual. “I hope that people are also able to appreciate a new form of theatre, and have their interests peaked by an exciting new way of storytelling. “I hope artists are inspired by what we have to offer, and I hope that even if the general public does not understand all of the artistic decisions, they will still be affected by the power that they have.” A Rainbow Youth Charity Night will be held on Thursday 29 May, where tickets will be sold for an extra $5 – which will be matched by the production company’s own profits and passed onto Rainbow Youth. Buy tickets here   Jacqui Stanford - 27th May 2014    
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