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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Out Of The Lens: A Story of Discovery and Love in its Purest Form

Theatre is something that is often very personal for me. When I have see a show with characters I can relate to, with situations I can relate to, they become instant favourites. My favourite musical of all time is, Rent, very closely followed by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and Les Miserables. Rent is a story of struggle, disease, and, above all else, love and acceptance. Joseph was the first musical I'd ever seen in a large theatre and I remember being enchanted by what was going on in front of me. It is also a story about struggle and overcoming impossible odds. Les Miserables is just a show that tugs at the heartstrings and as I've matured and had a few life experiences, I find myself relating to it more and more, especially the character of Eponine. Unrequited love is my speciality.

But, I digress; I'm not here to talk about those three aforementioned shows. I'm here to talk about a show a friend of mine has just debuted in Toronto. Out Of The Lens made its mark first at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014 and received rave reviews. It made its mark in my life the year prior. Out Of The Lens is the brain child of a good friend of mine, David Kingsmill. If you've been keeping up with my blog, you may remember an entry about a booked entitled, The Puppet Master: An MSCE Investigation. (If you haven't bought yourself a copy of it, do so now. It's a great piece of literature. I'll provide the links at the end of this post.) Out Of The Lens comes from the same mind as The Puppet Master, but covers a much different subject matter.

Out Of The Lens follows three weeks in the life of Joseph (portrayed by: Victor Pokinko), a photographer in desperate need of inspiration. That inspiration comes to him in the form of Ryan (portrayed by Kholby Wardell), an exuberant, gay man, who opens his eyes in a way he never thought was possible. Ryan becomes Joseph's muse, model, confidante, and the person Joseph didn't realize he needed in his life. It is a story of discovery, art, pushing boundaries, following one's dreams, and love in its purest form – friendship.

The show I saw was the concert form of the Edinburgh production. It is not perfect. There is room for improvement (the creator had a talk back session with the audience to get feedback on what we thought of the show and ways it could improve – a very brave thing for an artist to do), but I believe it is definitely headed in the right direction. Something I think it could use is, perhaps, an extra 15-30 minutes to expand on some points that are brought up in the show. There are many things that could be explored that the 60 minute window doesn't allow time for. However, the bones are there and they are strong. It has the potential to go far, and I think, with some tweaking, it will.

The show was extra special for me because, like with The Puppet Master, I remember having conversations with David and listening to him formulate what was nothing but a mere idea and some lyrics. It's like meeting someone for the first time when they're an infant and the next time you see them, they're a young adult. It's amazing to see what that person has become, and it was amazing to see what Out Of The Lens has become.

All in all, Out Of The Lens is a beautiful story created by someone I consider a beautiful person inside and out, and brought to life by a pair of talented actors and Musical Director, Kieran MacMillan. I'm excited to see it evolve further and I hope it does. It belongs on a larger stage and is worthy of its acclamation.

As I stated earlier, here are the links for some (shameless) promotion for David Kingsmill:

The Puppet Master - Canada

The Puppet Master - USA

The Puppet Master - UK

Out Of The Lens (Original Cast Recording)

For more information on David Kingsmill's current and future projects, check out his website: Dragon Literature