Lauren shares why this Musical makes people bare their emotions…
In January 2008, I knew I was apart of something special. Never before had a show touched and made me so emotional during rehearsals as this show did. Never before had I struggled to hold back the tears during the final number night after night (not helped by seeing the tears of when I was involved in this show. Looking back on it now, I can see that it had a profound affect on everyone involved, and it brings back many fond memories of why we continually take part in theatre.
Soon, others are about to go through the same experiences as me when they too perform bare in March. I caught up with the director for New Beat Theatre Company’s version of the show- Robbie Carmellotti; as well as cast members Zac Gower (Jason), Brad Dylan (Peter), Laura Thomas (Ivy), Kate MacDonald (Nadia) and Dan Benge (Matt) to get their views on this powerful show.
TP: This show is quite different from the mainstream boy-meets-girl musicals we usually see in theatre. Have you found the themes of the show confronting at all?
Laura (Ivy): I have certainly found a lot of the subject matter that is addressed in Bare to be confronting. I think that is what drew me to the show in the first place.
Brad (Peter): I actually don’t personally find them confronting, most of them are a fact of life – especially the private lives of wealthy boarding school students.
Zac (Jason): I think the show has certainly been confronting in some matters as an actor, when you perform the work the issues that are brought up are quite dark in some points. Some of these issues really take a toll on you emotionally.
Kate (Nadia): I think a lot of audience members will (find the show confronting). I think bare deals with things all teens are faced with at one point or another but people don’t like to talk about.
Dan (Matt): The show confronts the audience with themes that were previously taboo or too sexually overt to present on a mainstream stage. Perhaps what I have found most confronting is the raw and uninhibited picture of reality that bare presents. Nothing about the story is implausible; these are issues that continue to challenge today’s youth, plaguing public perceptions of sexuality, acceptance and social norm.
Robbie (Director): I wouldn’t say it is that left of centre from mainstream musicals of today. Shows such as Rent, Falsettos, Spring Awakening etc all have confronting issues and I think bare fits into the same category. It speaks to the audience about issues that are the harsh reality of today’s society, and when they are put directly in your face, it can be hard to watch. bare, however, is written so beautifully that the issues don’t even seem confronting, they merely effect you, you feel genuine empathy.
TP: Do you think this type of subject matter should be dealt with more often in shows? And how do you think the audience will react to your show?
Zac: Absolutely. For shows like bare to deal with these issues does seem cutting edge, but more and more shows seem to be challenging the idea of what a musical can be. The reality is this is a pretty good snapshot of what high school can be like these days not only in America but closer to home as well.
Laura: I think it’s important to have shows like bare that don’t shy away from the world’s harsh realities. As long as they are touched in some way we have achieved what we set out to do.
Brad: I would hope the audience would gain a deeper understanding of the issues teenagers deal with these days, and take home a new perspective on the subject matter. Ultimately, I would hope they develop a deeper compassion.
Robbie: No, I wouldn’t say this should be a common subject, otherwise it may become stereotypical and predictable. The show is powerful partly because of the fact that it is almost one of a kind in it’s setting and storyline. I hope the audience reacts the same way I did when was first introduced to the show; I was completely and unexpectedly moved to tears. It’s interesting because though it is a gay theme, you quickly switch off to the fact that it’s two boys, you just see love. Gender stops being the overriding subject very early on.
TP: What have the cast been like to work with?
Robbie: The whole ensemble have become extremely passionate about the show and the way they want it to be delivered.
Kate: This is one of the most incredible casts I’ve ever worked with. I have made friends I feel like I will have for life. We have assembled and incredibly talented bunch of people and we have formed an unbreakable bond.
Laura: There are few times in my life that I have ever been counted as part of a group of such talented people. The cast are all extremely passionate about this show and I believe that will show through in this production.
TP: What have been the highlights of the rehearsal process?
Kate: The highlight for me has been the emotional journey we have all taken together. It has given me some of my most satisfying moments as a performer.
Laura: Definitely running Act 2 and having the entire cast in tears due to the tragic and beautiful nature of this story.
Robbie: Undoubtedly when we did a full sing through of both acts for the first time. At the end, there was just still silence with tears running down everyone’s cheeks.
Dan: There was this profound connection between all of us, and by the final number, most were struggling to get the words out. It was a pivotal point in the process.
Zac: Highlights of the rehearsal period have been rehearsing the “Rave” and Birthday party scenes. Very rarely in a show to you get to spend a rehearsal having a party and mucking around with your friends, the energy and high school silliness is heaps of fun.
Brad: Every time I’ve made someone cry! Ha ha!
TP: Describe the show in 5 words.
Robbie: Emotionally engaging, true and honest.
Zac: Young, Energetic, Raw, Real, Bare
Brad: Love, Loss, Emotions, Rebellion, Exposed.
Laura: tragic, potent, confronting, touching and brave.
Dan: Raw. Controversial. Uninhibited. Playful. Passionate.
Kate: I need 6 words!! ‘Life is lived on other stages’