FOOT­LOOSE meets fancy free

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

In the­atre these days ac­tors don’t just learn the lines, sing the songs and play the part.

They’re asked to get in­side the per­son­al­ity, seek the truth, find the mo­ti­va­tion and iden­tify as far as pos­si­ble with the role.

Two lead­ing ac­tors from Foot­loose, the Palmer­ston North Boys’ High/Girls’ High pro­duc­tion, have been pre­par­ing for their roles by get­ting to know the char­ac­ters.

Foot­loose, the 1980s hit movie and mu­si­cal, tells the story of teenager, Ren McCormack and his mother, who move from ur­ban Chicago to a con­ser­va­tive town in Amer­ica’s ru­ral south. There he meets and rebels against despotic peo­ple and re­pres­sive so­cial struc­tures.

Josiah Nev­ell, who plays Ren, de­scribes him as quiet, strong willed and suffocated by a town that won’t let him be him­self nor ex­press his per­son­al­ity through dance. He chal­lenges the town coun­cil to change their at­ti­tudes, in par­tic­u­lar the op­pres­sive Bap­tist Pas­tor who in­flu­ences what the com­mu­nity thinks.

He meets Ariel, the pas­tor’s daugh­ter, and to­gether they in­flu­ence Rev Moore to free up his think­ing and ex­pand his out­look.

"I watched the movie and love the char­ac­ter, I like his con­vic­tion and strength and sym­pa­thise with the sit­u­a­tion he finds him­self in," Josiah says. "I love the mu­sic, I love to dance and I’m a bit out there. I like to stand up for what’s right."

Anya Darby en­joys the role of Ariel who she says is a free spirit.

"She’s a nor­mal teenager who, in this closed com­mu­nity, likes to push the bound­aries," Anya says. "I like her stub­born­ness and de­ter­mi­na­tion to rebel from her re­pres­sive home en­vi­ron­ment."

Anya de­scribes her­self as out­go­ing and has the con­fi­dence to fit eas­ily into the role. She’s an as­sured singer and un­der­stud­ied Anita in

West Side Story in 2015. Anya also stud­ies dance with Dean McKer­ras. Josiah is a mem­ber of OK Cho­rale and played roles in pre­vi­ous school pro­duc­tions of Happy Days and West Side Story.

They’re an un­likely cou­ple. Ren is the out­sider, new to the town and op­posed to its ban on danc­ing while Ariel is the pas­tor’s daugh­ter, brought up in a strict and dra­co­nian house­hold yet to­gether they in­flu­ence Rev Moore and his com­mu­nity for good.

For Josiah the song I Can’t Stand Still ex­presses what he feels through dance while in Hold­ing Out for

a Hero, Anya longs for some­one to come along and sweep her off her feet. Ren, the re­bel­lious teenager, might just be that per­son.

Foot­loose, di­rected by Chris Bur­ton, runs from March 16-25 in The Speirs Cen­tre.

AnyaDarby as Ariel, Josiah Nev­ell as Re­nand Kyle Dahl andAmyM­claren as Rev Moore and his wife, Vi - Ariel’s par­ents. New­boy in town, Ren, at­tracts the at­ten­tions of Ariel as he bat­tles against her fa­ther’s ban on danc­ing in the south­ernUSA­town of Bomont.

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