Interviewed by: Mandy Moe Pwint Tu
It’s the world’s first gay rom-com cabaret, and WA-raised Adriano Cappelletta is bringing it to this year’s Fringe Festival. We decided to talk to him about his inspirations, his trials, and his tribulations in bringing this show to life.
Could you walk us through what this show is about?
Ado is 35 and he’s never been in love. Ever. The urban jungle of Grindr and instant hook-ups are obstacles in his way to tasting romance. Until, that is, Ado meets Felix: a human rights lawyer who speaks like Hugh Grant and wears Italian suits. As their courtship blossoms, they date, dance, argue and move in together – but are they destined to live happily ever after?
This Boy’s in Love charts the hopes and fears around falling in love. It also deals with acceptance of sexuality and the realisation that we all love the same, no matter for whom our heart beats.
What was the inspiration behind This Boy’s In Love?
Initially, I was asked to present a new ten minute work at a comedy scratch night in Sydney and I started thinking about what is is unique about my perspective not only as a theatre-maker but as a human being and I thought well “I’m gay, I’m 35 and I’ve never been in love”. Initially I was just writing from a personal perspective about being single. Then I thought, if I’m may never fall in love, I should at least write a show about it so I can experience it in someway and I started to think about what it would be like to meet the perfect boyfriend and how the relationship would play out. There is a stereotype of gay men as promiscuous and unable to commit to a monogamous relationship. There is a perception that sex is so available in gay culture that love and long lasting connection is something gay men aren’t looking for. So, if there are any gay stories they seem to be centred around sex, violence, drugs and some kind of inner turmoil. I wanted to create a story free from the dark side, bursting with heart and expressing honestly a rare perspective – a gay man in love.
How did you enjoy the experience of translating the show from page to stage?
I’ve been fortunate to be able to trial the show through two work in progress showings, so I’ve taken on board feedback from audience members and other creatives. I’ve been rewriting, always with the intention of telling the story dynamically, stripping it back for clarity, humour and heart. I wanted to make a work that showcased all my skills as a performer and theatre-maker, so it’s an all singing, all dancing, flat out acting tour de force! It really does test my strengths and abilities, but I figured why not? I want to push myself to be the best I can be and the story is very personal and it brings people joy, so I love doing it!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced directing and acting in the show?
It’s been challenging to stage, as I’m constantly shifting between characters and physically I’m trying to mark every new change and make it clear and dynamic. I think the appeal of the show is that I change characters with such swift dexterity that if feels like you’re watching a scene between two, sometimes three people. I hope the audience will come along on the journey and get lost in the world I create and the narrative and then walk away amazed that it was only one actor on stage.
What are your thoughts on the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in media?
I think when you compare the landscape perhaps 20 years ago, then definitely there is a stronger presence of gay culture that isn’t just stereotypes. However, I think the time when gay characters are the leading protagonists and gay life is presented in a dynamic and sensitive way is still yet to come. I think television shows in the US like Looking, Frankie & Grace and Sense8 have presented gay life with detail and depth and there are a lot more gay characters in series that aren’t just frivolous drag queens or sad closet cases. However, with the exception of Please Like Me, I think the mainstream media in Australia could take more risks and communicate gay stories with sensitivity.
What changes would you like to see made to this?
I think people just need to keep making work that celebrates gay culture in all its diversity. The audience will come around eventually. I’ve performed This Boy’s in Love in Sydney and what struck me was that many people who identify as heterosexual told me that they felt that I had tapped into exactly how they felt, that we shared the same experience around the fears and joys of falling in love. For me, that was a beautiful discovery because it cemented for me what I’ve always known and that is that the language of the heart is the same. I don’t think as artists we should try and ‘normalise’ the gay experience, but just present it as a human experience.
What message would you like the audience to take away from this show?
I hope that he audience will be illuminated by a gay love story told with honesty, humour and sensitivity. My aim was to create a show with broad appeal and it has elements of classic rom com in the style of a Richard Curtis film (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Mr.Bean) Gay men and women will identify with the struggle of self-acceptance and I hope the rest of the audience will understand that being a gay man is not just about sex and hair removal: it’s about love. At the centre of life, everyone wants to connect with someone on an intimate level and love between two men can be beautiful, heartwarming and…well just the same.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Come to the show! It’s a one man spectacular, that will hopefully fill you with joy and inspire you to fall head over heels or love the one you’re with even more. I’d love to see you there!
Get details on the show and how to get tickets here.