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The Choir

The orphanage boys’ choir has won the interstate competition three years in a row. Miss Lawdon (who is never seen) is determined to win it again. She has the boy sopranos castrated so that their voices will remain pure and beautiful. The choir has an easy life with seven to a dormitory. Andrew is the Head Boy in the dormitory. The others idolise him except for Michael who will not speak and sits at his desk cutting out heads from photos in magazines. During a teasing fight Michael reveals that the castration is a mistake because they were done too late. Their voices are still changing. He thinks everyone must know this but the other boys don’t. They are extremely disturbed by the revelation and they try to organise an escape. They tell the rest of the choir who won’t believe them at first and fighting breaks out amongst the different choir rooms. Some try to set the building on fire. In a fight, singer David is injured in the throat. He commits suicide with the help of his best friend, Colin. Andrew tries to bring about calm but he no longer holds sway over his group. They castrate him so that everyone in their room will be equal. The director, Robert Chuter, gave the play a poetic, “bare” production with excellent ensemble acting. ‘The Age’ reviewer Martin Ball wrote, “...a brutal and savage exploration of power and group dynamics.”

Photography type: production stills

Year: 2010

Venue: BrightSpace Gallery, St. Kilda

Company: Fly-On-The-Wall Theatre as part of the 2010 Midsumma Festival

Director: Robert Chuter

Producer: Fly-On-The-Wall Theatre and the BrightSpace Gallery Project

Production: Errol Bray - playwright and adaptor, Robert Chuter, producer, director and designer, Kym Davies - production manager.

Cast: Paul Layton, Mark Taylor, Christopher Pender, Marc Opit, Leighton Irwin, Benjamin Byrne, Timothy Blencowe, Vlady T. and Todd Morgan.

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