Is it just us or do others get depressed once Pride is gone for another year? Once the parade and parties are over, what’s a gay to do? If you’re Fighting Chance Productions, you help the post-Pride blues by putting on a show with a gay theme. This year the team that gave us The Laramie Project and Rent in previous years presents bare, the musical story of two gay high school students and their struggles at a private Catholic boarding school.
As one half of the secretly gay couple in the story, actor Braedon Cox portrays Peter who is on the verge of coming out but is held back by his lover Jason, who isn’t quite so ready.
But more than a coming out story, Cox explains that the show covers a lot of other hot button issues including teen pregnancy, identity issues and drug use.
“Bare is one of those shows that will touch everyone emotionally in different ways,” he said. “I think that everyone can connect to the show differently. It covers many different issues to do with being an adolescent nowadays”.
Also central to the show is a strong statement about organized religion and homosexuality that Cox says will make audiences feel for the characters as they try to hold onto their beliefs while battling their feelings.
And while Cox may not be able to relate personally to the religious aspects of the show, as he grew up in non-religious household, he says that Peter’s coming out story coincidentally mirrors his own, although with very different outcomes.
“We both came out to our moms over the phone while attending school abroad,” he said. “This scene is actually in the show, another gut-wrenching song where Peter tries so hard to tell his mom that he is gay, to only have her ignore him or change the subject. Thankfully my mom was very accepting and loving to me, and still is to this day. I can’t imagine going through what my character had to.”
As a gay actor, Cox says that he had no hesitation in playing a gay character: “being gay does not define who I am as a person, and definitely not who I am as an actor. Those personal issues have to stay away from the stage. As an acting teacher once said, check your emotional baggage at the door, there is enough in your character.”
Leaving that personal baggage at the door could also be said of Lucas Blaney who plays his lover Jason in the show. Only Blaney happens to be straight. But for Cox to play against a straight man in some of the more intimate scenes in bare was not difficult.
“I knew Lucas before we were both cast. He’s very professional about playing a gay character and it’s never been awkward. Being an actor you should never have limits on what you can do on stage. That’s the difference between being amateur and professional, I think. Lucas is a pleasure to work with for sure.”
Often times compared to Rent, not only because it is sung pretty much through, Cox says that bare has other similarities that make for an easy comparison.
“Both shows have a lot of raw emotion, and the storylines are very modern and not afraid to touch on certain topics that many people keep hush-hush,” he said. “And of course, they both have powerful music that will leave a long lasting impression on anybody.”
Drawn to the show by what he described as is its beautiful score and beautiful storyline, Cox says it is an important piece for both the gay community and Vancouver and credits Ryan Mooney and Fighting Chance productions for taking risks.
“Ryan and his company are willing to put up shows that many other companies in Vancouver would never even dream of,” he said. “Shows that really need to be seen, like bare. This is what the world needs, a show that says, this is what many young gay people are going though. When will you put out your hand to help?”
bare: a pop opera
4 – 13 August 2011
A group of high school seniors at a Catholic boarding school faces issues of sexuality and personal identity. As they struggle to come to terms with who they are, and who the world thinks they should be, they seek answers from their Church, their friends, and ultimately, from within themselves. Its rich, vibrant score draws on many styles of contemporary music. Tickets are available online at Tickets Tonight or by calling 604.684.2787. Visit http://fightingchanceproductions.ca for more information.