A cult favourite amongst many musical theatre fans, Bare: A Pop Opera is a modern show that tells the story of a group of teens trying to understand who they are and where they fit in to the world. Premiering in 2000 and undergoing significant changes since, the show explores themes consistent within the experiences of young people, and focuses particularly on expression of sexuality and coming to terms with being gay within the deeply hetero-normative and homophobic institution of the Catholic Church.
Aaron Robuck is currently playing the principal role of Peter Simmonds in the Sydney production of Bare: A Pop Opera, and took some time to answer our questions and introduce audiences to the show.
Please introduce me to the character of Peter, the role you play in the show.
Peter is a sensitive, passionate and playful wallflower of a young man who is deeply in love with his roommate and best friend, Jason. Throughout the show, he questions his once firm belief in God and hopes to find a path forward post-graduation in which he can find comfort in his family, his religion and the boy he loves.
Is this your first introduction to Bare, or were you a fan of the material before this production was announced?
I had listened to the soundtrack while studying, and loved the songs that I had listened to, but hadn’t listened to the soundtrack all the way through until I was approached for this production.
Bare has gone through significant rewrites since its inception, which version of the show are you doing?
We are doing the pop opera version that was released as a 2-disc album, the first full official publication of the show, before any major rewrites.
Are You There?In the recording studio with Timothy and Aaron !
This is ‘Are you there?’ where Matt and Peter bond; questioning their reality and who out there is actually listening.
Tickets are available from The Depot Theatre Website. Playing November 30 – December 17, 2016.
#barethemusical2016 #baresydney2016 #baresupplyevolution #areyouthere
Posted by Bare the Musical – Sydney 2016 on Sunday, October 30, 2016
Why did you choose to become involved in this production of Bare?
I really enjoyed working with the team from Supply Evolution on Bring It On last year, and I trusted them to handle this piece well. The role is a truly special one – it was a no brainer to accept their offer to play Peter.
Is there a particular lyric from the show that resonates with you?
So many. So, so many. I think I have a tie:
“Our love was pure and nothing else brought me closer to God.”
“Confusion is a crime, so you fill your life with sound. And if you dance like hell, you hope you’ll never touch the ground.”
Even though Bare is American, events within illustrate why young people need initiatives like the Safe Schools program. Can you talk to me about some of the issues explored throughout Bare, and why they are so universal?
Essentially, Bare is a story about love and acceptance. In our teenage years, you learn a lot about who you are and begin to accept your own identity. I think all audiences, whether they have gone through this process of finding themselves already or perhaps continue to discover things every day, can relate to this journey of self-understanding.
Can you please talk to me about the Youth Forum held after the 4 December performance? Why was this forum held?
A lot of gay youth are in trouble. We see it on the news every day. So many young people are terrified of not being accepted for who they are, and loneliness is the worst feeling to have as a teenager. The forum held after the performance on the 4th is being used to create a safe space especially for anyone wanting to talk about their sexual identity after experiencing what may be quite a cathartic experience for audience members who relate personally to the story and characters in Bare.
This show depicts the suicide of a young LGBTI+ person, in light of recent tragic events do you feel an even greater sense of responsibility to tell this story right?
Art is always imitating reality, and unfortunately, this particular topic is relevant at the moment. Yes, I do feel a responsibility to respect that current reality.
I think, as a huge fan of music and musical theatre, that Bare has a capacity to involve people in quite important and confronting issues through an entertaining medium. And music has that power to communicate without words as well – so many of the most stunning and heart wrenching parts of the show are instrumental (I’m a sucker for a cello solo…)
Why do you believe Bare is such an enduring cult hit?
Bare shows the good, bad and the ugly sides of the issues it addresses. The story is not afraid of tackling established institutions in society and questioning what is considered to be the accepted norm. It attracts the outsider, the advocate and the revolutionary – not necessarily the mainstream.
Why should audiences see Bare?
Firstly, everyone should support local theatre and local artists. Personally, I like to see theatre that helps me understand a part of myself through an entertaining format – and I think everyone will find something personally relevant in the characters and what they go through. The cast is absolutely wonderful and sensitive and extremely talented. And it would give me great personal pleasure to see a huge response to this show to prove to me that the world has not lost their faith in love.
Bare: A Pop Opera can be seen until 17 December at the Depot Theatre in Sydney. Tickets are available at this link.