Article Title:Rent's coming to Papakura
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Published on:15th April 2015 - 09:16 am
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Story ID:16695
Text:The Papakura Theatre Company is bringing Rent to the stage next month. Luke Ellery, who plays Angel, tells us why he loves the musical so much. Luke Ellery was, quite simply, attracted to Rent by its story, and the music. “It’s pretty touching and heart-warming and sad, but the story has a lot of things going for it.” Set in the 90s, Rent tells the story of a bunch of broke young artists struggling to survive and create a life in New York’s East Village, under the shadow of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Ellery, a gay Auckland Classics student, is playing the HIV positive Angel, as a trans woman. He was drawn to Angel when he first saw the film version of Rent when he was about 11. He didn’t quite understand the complexities of her character at that age, but says “I just loved her excitement. In such a sad, sad movie, she brought so much joy.” The student and performer thinks the important thing about Angel’s character is her positivity, rather than the struggles she may or may not go through as a likely trans kid basically living on the streets. He says playing a trans woman is challenging. “But I get into the character and just let it be.” It’s also had him thinking - as he overcomes his own small qualms about wearing women’s clothing on stage and how it might be received. Obviously that is nothing compared to actually being trans, and Ellery acknowledges that in an era of so much change for the ‘lgbt’ community rights, trans people have often been left out. “I don’t think trans people have received the same kind of equality and acceptance that everyone else has. Everyone deserves the same equality and to be treated equally.” He says in Angel’s story, her gender identity is never the focus. “It’s brought up a few times, for sure, but really the most important thing about her character is the positivity. It’s such a dark place, there’s a lot of loss and relationship struggles and poverty, but Angel was just the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone was following.” Ellery says obviously times have changed a lot since Rent was written, and he can’t imagine how it was received when it first came out. “Tension was high back then, with HIV a serious problem.” He hopes that is what people from all walks of life who see Rent take from Angel’s character. “Without Angel I think it would just be unbelievably tragic. The show would just be too depressing.” Rent is showing at the Off Broadway Theatre in Papakura from Saturday 9 May – Saturday 23rd May. Tickets from or 09 361 1000. More info here (Luke Ellery is a classics major at Auckland University who had a hand in the below YouTube video of Let It Go sung in Ancient Greek!) staff - 15th April 2015    
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