Javeenbah’s edgy new show, Rent
Acclaimed edgy award winner comes to town, writes
HEN director Iain Hogg saw the 2005 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rent, he wanted nothing more than to put the edgy rock musical on the Javeenbah Theatre Company stage.
Exploring tough themes including sexuality, generation gaps, drug abuse and funding artistic endeavours, the musical follows impoverished young artists and musicians as they struggle to survive and create in New York under the shadow of AIDS.
The production had sombre beginnings when the writer, Jonathan Larson, died unexpectedly the morning of its first preview performance in January 1996.
‘‘It’s a sad history when you think the writer of this great musical never got to see it performed on stage,’’ Hogg says.
‘‘I heard a quote once that ‘it was as if his heart had said everything it wanted to say and then gave out’, which really spoke to me about what’s left and the message he left behind.
‘‘I think every cast has gone in with the attitude of ‘let’s do this for Jonathan’. That’s what I said to my cast and it has sparked their passion and determination and given the show a unique, raw energy.’’
Larson received three posthumous Tony Awards and a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the musical.
‘‘There are messages about how friendship is eternal – even during temporary problems,’’ Hogg says.
‘‘The musical powerfully depicts how that plays out in relationships.’’
Some 90 per cent of the show plays out in song. A talented cast drawn from around Australia has come together on the Gold Coast specifically to appear in the production.
‘‘It’s mainly a singing show, so we needed really strong voices and we attracted talent from three different states who come together to create the perfect mix,’’ Hogg says.
‘‘Each individual comes from a completely different musical background.’’
Penned in 1996, the musical’s themes are beautiful, timeless and just as relevant today, Hogg says.
‘‘The show’s tag-line is ‘no day but today’ which is kind of like a ’90s version of YOLO – you only live once. I’m not the biggest fan of that phrasing. It’s about living life and making the most of it,’’ he says.
‘‘The small amount of dialogue interspersed throughout the production is really there to give the audience signposts to the story, but it’s mainly a captivating play set to music.
‘‘The set walls disappear. It’s seamless and very cinematic and we’re performing it the same way that it’s written, but we’ve given it its own spirit, bringing in into the 21st century. It’s a timeless piece.
‘‘It’s so different to every show I’ve ever done, being a rock musical and
Rent plays Javeenbah Theatre, Nerang, Thursdays to Saturdays at 8pm from tomorrow until August 10. Tickets are $25. Visit javeenbah.org.au or phone 5596 0300 to book. – Picture: BRENDAN RADKE there has been so much interest in it.
‘‘The cast has been rehearsing for months and are extremely focused on character development and energy.
‘‘This musical will be moving and fun for both the performers and the audience as we watch these characters learn to survive, fall in love and find their voices.’’
Theatre listings, Page 30
Director Iain Hogg (centre) with Rent stars Marc Lyster and Sean Thomas.