“It’s awesome in terms of romance,” says Brad Hampton of his autobiographical cabaret The Picture of Happiness
. “The idea of a young soldier in 1941 — all the terror, waste and fear.” When he was 23, Hampton found a photo of two men in his grandmother’s basement. One was his grandfather, the other a mystery. Inquiries led nowhere, with his mother and grandmother repeating, “We don’t talk about it. We never talk about it.”
“Our goal was to honour the story and open up the secret,” Hampton says. “To tell it and how it was resolved. I don’t think my family were the only people who had secrets. It opens a door for people to tell their secrets.”
The secret is pretty obvious to a gay audience but still manages to shock in its telling. “Brad is the first male — well, kind of male — singer I’ve worked with,” says pianist/collaborator Patti Loach. “I have three sons, and a year into the process of The Picture of Happiness
my youngest son came out. The process was easier because of Brad. My kids know a lot of gay men, but they love Brad. It made it as easy as it can be. And there are no secrets.” — Drew Rowsome
The Picture of Happiness runs Fri, Oct 19 and Sat, Oct 20 at Gallery Fontana Swing, 245 Carlaw Ave. Review at fabmagazine.com.
Fab's review of the play here!