“I was very nervous before the public reading. The material is quite risqué for a regional theatre, and I was worried that a more family-oriented audience would be a little freaked out by the subject matter,” says Nathaniel Bacon of his role as Luke in St Francis of Millbrook
. “Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.” The play is a coming-of-age story about growing up in rural Ontario. Luke’s parents are concerned that he likes the pop star Madonna a little too much and, this being a Sky Gilbert play, with the mother played by Elley-Ray Hennessy, his eventual coming out is pretty much guaranteed. “This story is intensely personal for me,” Bacon says. “I’m originally from a place called Burnt River, with a population of around 200 people. So it’s really mind-blowing to return to my old life in a sense.”
This is a big break for Bacon, who first came to fab
’s attention when he rocked Queer Idol with his vocal talent and his penchant for performing shirtless. “There is an eye-candy element, which involves some great choreography and the removal of some specific items of clothing . . . I’ve said too much,” Bacon teases. “Sky is an amazing artist and an extremely passionate, driven man. He’s been a pioneer for queer rights and a trailblazer in theatre for so many years that I was honestly terrified to meet him. But he’s a very kind, nurturing, funny guy, and he’s been incredibly encouraging and welcoming to me.” Whatever the rural reaction, Bacon is sure gay audiences will have a great time. “It’s a liberating, touching story with elements of powerful drama and fantastic comedy. Sky has created a world of very real characters and we have a great group of people bringing them to life. And there will be some very inventive use of a classic Madonna tune.”
— Drew Rowsome
St Francis of Millbrook runs till Sat, Sept 1 at 4th Line Theatre, The Winslow Farm, 779 Zion Line, Millbrook. 4thlinetheatre.on.ca
And more Nathaniel Bacon.