Tuesday, 6 May 2014
"RENT" | Play Review
If you don't know what RENT is about, it follows a group of friends and acquaintances in New York City who are struggling to get by; while trying to make ends meet, their lives are also plagued by HIV/AIDS.
From that description, you can probably tell that it's going to be a sad play. And it is - at least in part. While it is no doubt heartbreaking when characters we come to know and love over the course of the show pass away, RENT is all about hope to me. Although the individuals in the show are struggling not only with surviving financially, but also with coming to terms with physical and mental illness, they persevere. Anyone who has experience with these types of issues knows how hard it is to keep going when you feel like you're being held down by illness. In this way, the characters in RENT are inspirational to me.
Now, we all know how empathetic I am, right? I cried. I cried a lot. The actors were magnificent in their roles and made me feel everything one is supposed to feel when watching RENT. There was laughter, there was crying - and all of it was welcome.
My one criticism of the run I watched is the lack of racial diversity in the cast. I watched the 2008 live filmed version of the play a few months before seeing it onstage, and for me, cultural representation was a huge part of RENT. So in that sense, it was a bit disappointing that almost the entire cast was Caucasian.
To summarize, RENT is a beautiful musical. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend that you do - even if you don't see it onstage, you can watch the live filmed version.
Oh, and don't forget your tissues.