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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Production turns concept on its head

It’s a play that is flipping the narrative.

Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight (DYPKYS) explores the queer experience by creating a world where heterosexuality is not “normal”.

Written and directed by award-winning, non-binary theatre maker Riley McLean, the piece was first produced amid the marriage equality debate in 2016.

It follows the life of Casey Miller, a teenager who is trying to come to terms with his sexuality and identity.

“In many ways, Casey is a regular teenager with a passion for writing stories,” McLean said.

“But he has a secret – he’s straight. Feeling isolated, he creates a friend in his stories, Riley, a lesbian girl who lives in an opposite world (not unlike our own) where heterosexuality is normal.”

As the Bearfoot Theatre Company manager and artistic director, McLean hopes the show can shine a light on the LGBTQIA+ community.

“It’s okay not to be okay and brilliant to be different,” McLean said.

“DYPKYS aims to reflect a truthful queer experience and is about being different in a world that expects conformity.”

One of the lead actors Nicholas Thoroughgood says the play is one of the best depictions of the journey he has ever seen.

“I hope straight people who see the show take away a deeper sense of empathy towards the struggle of coming out,” he said.

“It’s an incredibly traumatic process, whether it goes smoothly or not, and it’s something that’s very hard to explain to people who don’t directly know what it’s like.”

Samuel Jenkins, the actor who plays Casey, agreed.

“I hope that a lot of non-queer people come and see the show and are able to have their eyes opened as to what the queer experience can be like, and therefore learn to be the best allies to them as possible,” he said.

“I also really hope that lots of queer people come and see the show and are able to have that beautiful moment of being able to say: ‘Hey, that’s me on the stage’ and finally see themselves represented in a show.”

DYPKYS is taking to the Civic Theatre stage for five shows as part of the 2021 theatre season.  

Tickets are available for performances on Wednesday 17, Thursday 18, Friday 19, and Saturday 20 February.

For more information about the play or to purchase tickets, go to the Bearfoot Theatre website.

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