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Really Want To Hurt Me at Old Red Lion

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A new hour-long solo performance about a schoolboy growing up gay in Exeter in the mid-1980s, surviving bullying and constant social pressure to conform to being heterosexual and "masculine". The play explores how internalising these pressures day after day can lead to suicidal self-hatred. But it also shows the boy struggling through that low self-esteem to start discovering his own identity by becoming characters in school plays and on other stages - replacing the false character he's been forced to play in his everyday life. The performance uses comedy, dance and a classic 1980s pop soundtrack (including Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?") to bring Exeter in 1984-86 back to life, with resonance for anyone, anywhere who's experienced being bullied and made to feel like an outsider. The production is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Exeter, 1984. How do you survive being gay at high school with only Culture Club, Eurythmics and Tears for Fears on your side? A funny and painfully honest solo performance about beating the bullies with the magic force fields of pop music and acting in school plays. Raw confessions from an era when being picked on for a sexuality you barely understood felt more like Orwell's 1984 than the real one. A bittersweet celebration of a time when you revelled in the innocently uncool joys of Kajagoogoo like your life depended on it. Because maybe it actually did. First crushes. Dancing to your Walkman. Trying to tape the Top 40 without the DJ talking over it. Constant pressure to be straight. Act more "masculine". A long time ago but maybe not all that different from now. "Do you really want to hurt me?" Written and directed by Ben SantaMaria, performed by Ryan Price. Suitable for ages 15+.

Venue Details & Map

Old Red Lion Theatre

418 St John Street
+44 (0)20 7837 7816
Public transport:
Angel, Underground

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