There are many things in life that piss me off: driving, people reading and not replying to my BBMâ€™s, and working are among the extensive list. But the number one thing on my ongoing and ever-growing list is the way in which the Catholic community suppresses very real issues about sexuality and being in high school, which then leads to ignorant children and teenagers who will forever go on in life hating or being uncomfortable around certain types of people…like the homosexual community, for instance. I went to a catholic school all of my life, so Iâ€™d like to deem myself entitled to make claims like that. Anyhow, since I graduated and moved onto university where I was faced with â€œdifferentâ€ people, Iâ€™ve been struggling with the fact that being gay is strongly frowned upon in a Catholic/Christian (whatâ€™s the difference, anyway?!) setting, and is what causes the students and followers of the faith to not view these lifestyles with an open mind.
Iâ€™m not totally pessimistic. There are also many things in life that I love, like sushi, sleeping, and- my ultimate favorite- Musical Theatre. When my good friend, Imelda Gaborno, told me earlier this year that she had been cast in Fighting Chance Productionsâ€™ BARE: A Pop Opera, I was excited that I had an excuse to go see a show (not that you ever need an excuse to see theatre!). Then she told me what the show was about, and I was ecstatic as it combined my love for theatre with that issue I bitched about earlier; I was all in and had high expectations for how this show would be tackled.
BARE, under the direction of the multi-talented Ryan Mooney, takes us through the complicated, secret relationship between high school students Jason (Lucas Blaney) and Peter (Braeden Cox) at a Catholic boarding school. Keeping it under wraps from their friends, teachers, and parents, Jason and Peter sing their way through a complicated story-line as they are thrown many curve-balls and surprises along the way (Iâ€™d tell you, but then it wouldnâ€™t be a surprise..duh.). The love between them draws many parallels to the story and relationship of Romeo and Juliet; lovers who could not be together. Using Romeo and Juliet in its plot line, a tale about two star-crossed lovers who could not be together under certain circumstances, was great symbolism that helped the audience to digest the tough situation happening in front of their eyes easier.
Besides the relationship between Peter and Jason, the partying, drug use, alcohol consumption, and sexual tendencies amongst all characters were things that couldnâ€™t go unnoticed. It was, from my point of view, an accurate portrayal of what happens when you take a bunch of kids, lock them up away from the bigger world around them, and tellthem what to believe in and control everyone of their movements. Iâ€™ve been going to a catholic school since Kindergarten, and to say that that stuff doesnâ€™t happen is bullshit (sorry, mom and dad…).
The singing was incredible. Letâ€™s be honest…in every show thereâ€™s usually that one person who doesnâ€™t really deliver vocally. Again, I deem myself eligible to say this because I am usually that person (fuck my life). It felt as though there was barely any speaking lines, but I am NOT complaining. The songs told the story, and the youth vocals made that story all the more enjoyable. I do need to put the spotlight on the character Nadia (played by Emma Leigh Hillier) who sang a song called “Plain Jane Fat Ass” that immediately became my new favorite musical theatre song.
A performance so real and raw, BARE made me leave the theatre feeling more passionate about the issues of oppression which adolescents deal with in a Catholic community, and also super inspired by the mesmerizing cast of 20 who stayed completely committed to the story and its truth. Did I mention they were all considered youth? No?! Well now you know that we are capable of being the key players in such dramaâ€™s like BARE, and can portray any issue on stage…no matter how hard it is to bare. Thank you to Fighting Chance Productions for accommodating Youth in 57 Minutes, and I look forward to seeing more of your productions!
Photo from http://fightingchanceproductions.ca/