Tackling Controversy On the Stage

first_img Email Joshua Kelly said the final few days before an opening are always “organized chaos” and last week was no exception as the Flathead Valley Community College Theatre prepared for its final show of the summer season. “We’re definitely ready for an audience. It’s almost performance perfect,” said Kelly, director for “Bare: A Pop Opera.” “Bare” premiered in Los Angeles in 2000 as a musical addressing the issues faced by a group of Catholic high school students during their senior year, including teen pregnancy, drug use and homosexuality. Kelly said the church plays a central role as the play’s antagonist, forcing opposing views on the students and the issues they face. “The conflict comes from the students not wanting to be under the constant eye of the church,” Kelly said. According to Kelly, that conflict hasn’t set well with some community members, even though he said the play isn’t meant to insult. “It seems people are most upset that this play depicts the church in a negative light but that isn’t the case,” he said. “In the end it’s about personal expression.” Kelly, who has directed three other plays at FVCC, said he has gotten a few calls from people in the community though most of them hadn’t seen it. He hopes those who do attend will go with an open mind. “I know people will form their own opinions before seeing it, but I hope people might learn something when they see the show,” he said. Joe Legate, faculty advisor for the theatre, said addressing controversial topics is part of theatre and if people have a problem with the subject matter they shouldn’t attend the show. He also said he had no doubt Kelly and the rest of the group performing the show could deal with any fallout, although he wasn’t expecting any. “We have a responsibility to both our patrons and students, but first and foremost it’s to our students and that means we sometimes tell uncomfortable stories,” Legate said. Arron Clark, who plays Peter, said the play deals with very real issues and pushing those issues to the forefront is an important aspect of theatre. “I definitely believe that controversy interests people and brings people to theatre, but I think political issues are intertwined into theatre,” he said. Clark hopes people come to the show, controversy or not, because he expects it to be one of the best performances their group has ever put on. He said the play features great performers and catchy songs. In order not to overshadow those aspects, a very minimalistic set has been created. Legate echoed those statements and said the show fits in well with the variety of performances they like to offer. “I think our patrons want a variety,” he said. “They want to laugh, to think or just simply to be entertained.” “Bare” premiered last weekend and has two more showings on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the FVCC Theatre. Tickets are $10. Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.last_img

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