We caught up with Curtis Mason, playing the role of Timothy Conigrave
What’s the show about?
Curtis: The show is an adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s 1995 memoir, detailing the lives and love of both Tim and John Caleo. The show opens with a 9 year old Tim discovering his homosexuality. We follow Tim as he meets sporty John at Xavier College and quickly falls in love. We see Tim’s character evolve into a more confident, vibrant and at times promiscuous young man. The play focuses on Tim and John’s HIV diagnoses and demise, never losing sight of the one thing that kept them together: love.
Why are you doing it?
Curtis: I picked up the memoir in 2010 at the airport whilst I was waiting to board my first flight to Melbourne. I devoured it in a few days and all the while, I felt like I had developed a strong friendship with John and Tim, even though we were never to meet. For me, knowing that it had been adapted into a play gave me an opportunity to get involved in their story and pay tribute to their short but meaningful lives.
What will audiences love about it?
Curtis: Audiences will love how raw it is. Tommy Murphy has masterfully crafted the show to a point where it feels like you’re taking a peek into Tim’s mind. It’s brash, crude, emotional and full of love. And from what I’ve heard, those are things that made up Tim’s personality. Audiences will laugh, they’ll cry. They’ll get to see the characters from the memoir leap up onto the stage where Tim loved to be.
What is your favourite part of being a part of this show?
Curtis: I think for me, it’s all about honouring these men that were alive in modern Australia, and carrying on their legacy. Without realising, they changed so many people’s lives through reading the memoir. I’m sure that over the years it has helped many people come out to their friends and family, prompted people to go and get an HIV test, sparked conversations about monogamy within a relationship. I’ve loved getting inside Tim’s head, doing as much research as I can possibly do and doing it with a team who are all fun and committed. I’ve got to work with some old friends, and made some new ones, and that has been so satisfying to me.
Why do you believe this show is important in today’s society?
Curtis: I think the show is a strong reminder of what people had to go through to get to the stage where we are today. John and Tim bought rings for each other, but never got to see marriage equality. They got to see the initial stages of HIV/AIDS medical research, however they never got to see the medicine that can keep HIV at bay and prevent it from being passed on to another. I think it’s really important to show the stigma that was prevalent at the time, and just how meaningful fighting for a cause, a relationship, a story, can be.
Please note that “Holding the Man” contains adult themes and may not be suitable for all audiences.
Thursday 25th October – 8pm
Friday 26th October – 8pm
Saturday 27th October – 8pm
Wednesday 31st October – 8pm
Thursday 1st November – 8pm
Friday 2nd November – 8pm
Saturday 3rd November – 6pm (Twilight Performance)
679 Doncaster Rd
All tickets – $25
Curtis Mason: Tim Conigrave
Shane Pritchard: John Caleo
The following troupe will perform alongside Tim & John in a wide variety of roles including but not limited to:
Suzanne Barr: Mary Gert Conigrave/Lois Caleo
Darren Mort: Dick Conigrave/Bob Caleo
Brittany Holt: Juliet
Ben Cook: Peter/Woody
Marcus Favrin: Biscuit/ Dr Sheppard
Daisy Lucas: Marie/Rosie
Production Manager – Chloe Hancock
Director – Amy Bryans