‘Holding The Man’ exhibits love with out self-pity

Alex Hoskinson L and Joel Horwood R in Monday’s rehearsal for “Holding the Man.” Photograph: Helen Musa.

IT’S a reasonably truthful guess – and I don’t say this fairly often – that ACT Hub in Kingston when it opens its 2023 season with “Holding The Man” may have successful on its arms. I’d advocate reserving quick.

In one of many revolutionary initiatives that the small, unbiased collective of theatre makers has launched, earlier this week  director Jarrad West, with Queanbeyan-born, star playwright Tommy Murphy as his invited visitor, hosted an “In The Room” session, made up of an open rehearsal, drinks and a chance to talk with the playwright.

This sort of initiative makes ACT Hub the place to be within the Canberra theatre scene.

“Holding The Man” is an adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s posthumous 1995 memoir about rising up homosexual within the ’70s and falling in love together with his schoolmate, John Caleo.

The stage adaptation by Murphy gained him the NSW and Queensland premiers’ literary awards for finest play in 2007 and his 2015 display adaptation gained him an Awgie award for the most effective writing in a function movie – tailored, in addition to finest script/screenplay.

Earlier than the open rehearsal on Monday, Murphy instructed friends what a privilege it had been for him to adapt the memoir, which had been seen round Australia and as far afield as in London’s West Finish, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, NZ and even in Florence.

After talking of the help that he had acquired as a teen author in his native Queanbeyan, he mentioned it was no shock to him that individuals in every single place had responded so warmly.

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Conigrave, he mentioned, had “good recall”, which had given a way of connection to a timeless story.

“Even in South America, folks will discover the connection,” Murphy mentioned.

Whereas learning at NIDA, the Nationwide Institute of Dramatic Artwork, some folks instructed him that the real-life Conigrave was could possibly be troublesome and that, to Murphy, was completely apparent, however it didn’t detract from the ability of his frank exploration of the connection with Caleo.

Even higher, Conigrave had an amazing sense of enjoyable and the ridiculous which Murphy was in a position to exploit to dramatic impact, because the often-hilarious rehearsal confirmed. There’s not even a whiff of self-pity or preaching.

Director West has assembled very robust solid of seasoned gamers in Joel Horwood, Lewis McDonald, Joe Dinn, Amy Kowalczuk, Tracy Noble and Grayson Woodham, with Alex Hoskinson moving into rehearsals in McDonald’s momentary absence.

What we noticed on Monday in rehearsal included schoolroom encounters between the 2 boys and their classmates and familial scenes confronted on the real-life experiences of the boys rising up in Melbourne, however omitted the tragic components – it  is not any secret that each Caleo and Conigrave finally succumbed to AIDS-related issues in the course of the period of an earlier pandemic.

Murphy will probably be again for the season finale on April 1 – that’s one other session I’d ebook into.

“Holding The Man,” ACT Hub, Kingston, March 22 (preview) to April 1.