Street’s new di­rec­tion

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya Macnaughton

DI­REC­TOR Jason Lan­g­ley made it his pro­fes­sional mis­sion to never present a pro­duc­tion that den­i­grated any gen­der or race.

Lan­g­ley had his work cut out for him when he agreed to guest-di­rect WAAPA’S big year mu­si­cal ex­trav­a­ganza 42nd Street at Re­gal Theatre.

“Usu­ally in the pro­duc­tions I’ve seen of 42nd Street, there can be an el­e­ment of misog­yny and sex­ism,” Lan­g­ley said.

“And cer­tainly read­ing some of the re­views from the lat­est Lon­don re­vival, they’ve been a bit called out on it.”

Lan­g­ley, who has guest­di­rected 12 WAAPA pro­duc­tions, in­clud­ing Legally Blonde, said al­though he had not changed the script, the WAAPA pro­duc­tion would not ob­jec­tify or in­fan­tilise fe­male char­ac­ters.

“I’d rather not di­rect some­thing through yes­ter­day’s prej­u­dices and would rather put the con­tem­po­rary lens on some­thing,” he said.

“It’s not that I’m set­ting 42nd Street now or do­ing any­thing crazy like that, I’m just look­ing at it from our per­spec­tive and chal­leng­ing the text.

“I found a way to counter the misog­yny and sex­ism and make the women tougher and more pow­er­ful, which also works in well with the time in which it’s set in 1933.

“The 1920s was this huge decade of flux for so­ci­ety and so­cial is­sues

and was the rise of women’s rights and fem­i­nism, so it makes sense to me that the women are much more pow­er­ful in this.”

Lan­g­ley said he was en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing on the quin­tes­sen­tial back­stage story about the sur­vival of an in­dus­try and the chal­lenges of cre­at­ing a Broad­way show dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion.

“I guess it was the theme of sur­vival that struck me; the sur­vival of per­form­ers in the dayto-day of arts, sur­vival of Broad­way and the sur­vival of a na­tion dur­ing a re­ally dif­fi­cult time,” he said.

“I adore work­ing with the new stars of to­mor­row; some of the peo­ple from those first WAAPA shows I worked on here are now re­spected ac­tors in the in­dus­try.”

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