Article Title:Bare in Hamilton: "Raw, gritty, and a little bit raunchy"
Category:Performance
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:29th April 2008 - 11:45 am
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:5889
Text:Is there anything more intense than being young and in love? Answer: Being young and in love with someone of your own gender at a Catholic boarding school. Cue the music… Let the plot synopsis for Bare wash over you: 'Matt loves Ivy, who's in love with Jason, who's in love with Peter, who's in love with Jason. Jason's not sure he wants his love for Peter to be exposed, meanwhile Peter wants to shout it from the rooftops. Ivy's looking for love in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways; meanwhile Nadia (Jason's twin) fights with self image and learning to love herself. While the others are getting high on love, Lucas and co are getting high on something else.' Keeping up, or have we lost you already? As they say on Facebook - "It's complicated". Bare is a very new play, which was recently adored off-Broadway, and opened in Australia last month to appreciative reviews. Now Hamilton's Riverlea Theatre (the home of RENT a few months ago) has brought it to our shores for the first time. "The script is enough to bring you to tears - it tugs at your heart strings," says director Renee Casserly. "It's very dark in its themes, but the way it's presented is quite light. There's comedy thrown in, and a lot of really sombre moments. The themes are really strong - there's teenage pregnancy, teenage suicide, coming out and the reception that the church gives to homosexuality, but there's also a lot of questioning of faith, of Catholic guilt. It's very layered." The show is described as a 'pop opera', with around 90% music, 10% spoken script. There's a full live band - featuring a cello, a flute, and - of course - an electric guitar. "When I first read the script, I didn't read it as a musical," Casserly admits. "It's just a really strong script. But the music is just fantastic. It's like a cross between Jesus Christ Superstar and Rocky Horror, with a whole lot of different elements thrown in. It has that 'righteous' feeling of JC Superstar, but it also has very racy, raunchy riffs going on through a lot of it." This all sounds like it's demanding a lot from a very young cast - of the twenty actors on stage, the youngest is 15, and the oldest is in her mid-30's. "The majority of the cast are in that 15-24 age group," Casserly confirms. Jason (Jordan Mooney) very experienced, but a lot of them aren't. So it's a really great opportunity for them, because it's quite raw and gritty, so they sink their teeth into some really good roles. "Even though they're not necessarily the most experienced cast, they have that really nice, fresh energy, which the script totally demands." Sometimes actors like to say that 'playing gay' for a production is a 'challenge', so I asked how the young men are handling their homo roles so far. "Great," Casserly replies. "We've actually had one gay couple which has formed during the show, and one of our leads is gay himself. "One of the most climactic scenes is the 'outing' of both boys in a very public way, which the entire rest of the cast there. But you don't even bat an eyelid at the fact that it's two men falling in love. It's more about the personal struggle that the boys go through in coming out. Their struggle with the church, and their struggle with the reception they receive." Bare will be performed at Hamilton's Riverlea Theatre for two weeks, opening on Saturday 3 May. Booking details are on the theatre's official website, linked below. Matt Akersten - 29th April 2008    
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