David Williamson’s satirical comedy Managing Carmen, a light-hearted look at football, fame, and the power of acceptance, is opening this weekend at New Farm community theatre group Nash Theatre.
The play follows AFL star Brent Lyall, whose manager is desperate to hide the fact that after Brent takes off his football kit he loves to wear designer dresses and Manolo Blahnik heels as his female alter ego Carmen.
“Brent is a star AFL player in Melbourne, he’s won two Brownlow Medals, he’s a very big deal,” director Bianca Reynolds explained.
“His manager Rohan is trying to use him for celebrity endorsement deals, to make more money out of him, but unfortunately Brent is totally wooden and can’t act.
“Rohan hires a therapist to work with him, but the therapist discovers Brent’s hidden identity as a cross-dresser. Carmen is a party girl and Brent tries to keep his secret from the media, and his girlfriend Clara, who doesn’t know Carmen is a part of his life.”
Comedy ensues when Brent’s secret is leaked. Will Rohan succeed? Or will Brent finally be able to live freely as both Brent and Carmen?
“Thematically, tolerance and acceptance are big parts of the play. It really explores the real spectrum of possible responses when someone has this other life that plays against the stereotype of a male sporting hero,” Bianca said.
“Some characters are judgemental, and others are accepting, telling him ‘This is part of you and this is your business.’
“It also raises questions about the ugly side of fame and how being a sports star is often about marketability and money, rather than talent or who you are as a person.
“It’s a very fun play with some very nice messages and it’s something that audiences will get a good laugh out of.”
Managing Carmen opens on November 17 at Nash Theatre, located at The Brunswick Room in the Merthyr Road Uniting Church at 52 Merthyr Road, New Farm. For tickets and more information visit their website.