Many would expect We Will Rock You to be a musical focused around the story of the band Queen, as ‘Beautiful’ is about Carole King, and ‘Dream Lover’ Bobby Darin.
The reality however, is that while We Will Rock You is based around the timeless music of Queen, the storyline takes its inspiration from the future, and Hornsby Musical Society is set to bring it to life this month.
Show director Tamer Morris describes We Will Rock You as “a post-apocalyptic rock musical.” Featuring music written by Ben Elton as well as Queen, the show takes place in the distant future, where Earth is named iPlanet, conformity reigns, and rock music is unheard of.
“You don’t want to destroy Queen.” Morris explains. “The reverence attached to their music (is) what is constantly going through my mind. Everyone is going to know these songs. Everyone is going to be comparing us to Freddie Mercury. However, as I am constantly telling the cast, let us make these songs our own – let them be part of a story, and not just a Queen song.”
This pressure to measure up to the originals also extended to the audition process, which Morris revealed was not a simple task.
He continued, “Freddie Mercury has a very distinct voice, and so trying to find people who are able to sing his songs is never easy… We were also looking for people who could have the charm and charisma that Freddie had on stage… Freddie (after all) is the true inspiration of this show.”
For those that might have seen previous versions of We Will Rock You and think this production will just be a replica of the professional one, be prepared to think again. The storyline itself is about not sticking to the status quo, and Morris has clearly used this as inspiration for is directorial vision.
Morris explains “A lot people just expect that this production is going to be the same… as the professional versions. However, this is art, and so we must make it our own… the cast has been forced to do a lot of experimentation and follow my sometimes-narrow path.”
This 25-person cast is comprised of performers of many ages, many of whom were born far after Queen’s performance pinnacle.
“We have different cast members from all around… from 18 year olds to 50 year olds.” Morris says. “Some have loved Queen since they were young, and some are just experiencing them. The best thing about the cast is that they all bring their personal experiences to what we are trying to achieve. It is not just about Queen music… but about free expression and art.”
While this show is an obvious choice for Queen fans, the themes that the story explores far transcend the music, and emphasize the importance of staying true to yourself in the face of oppression. Every audience member will be able to find relevance within it, and tap their toes along to some great Queen songs at the same time!
“At the heart of the script is this concept of art setting the world free.” Morris says. “Throughout history, when dictators have tried to rule a populace, they first control their art. By banning music or books, they control the free expression of the people. And that is the heart of what we are trying to do – (show) that Art is the very expression of humanity.”
We Will Rock You by Hornsby Musical Theatre runs from April 19th through to the 22nd.
All performances will take place in the Hornsby RSL Showroom
Thursday 19 April – 7:30pm
Friday 20 April – 7:30pm
Saturday 21 April – 1:00pm
Saturday 21 April – 7:30pm
Sunday 22 April – 1:00pm