FLY-On-The-Wall Theatre presents the world premiere of Teleny, based on the anonymous pornographic novel from the late 19th century that is rumoured to have been written by Oscar Wilde and his circle of friends.
Adapted as a stage play by Barry Lowe, Teleny tells the story of Camille de Grieux, a rich young gentleman in 1920s Paris who falls in love with the handsome and mesmerising foreign pianist René Teleny.
While Teleny performs on stage, the two men discover they share a psychic link in the form of an erotic vision.
In this newfound happiness, Camille tries to forget that Teleny owes much of his success to the generosity of the women who desire him, but when Camille’s own mother seeks to pay the pianist’s debts in exchange for sexual favours, all three risk an exposure that could lead to shame, ruin and imprisonment.
The Star Observer spoke with Tom Byers about preparing for the role and just how does someone bond with his cast mates when nudity and intimacy runs free, especially in his lead role of Camille de Grieux.
He describes his character as having the “silver spoon” treatment and a life of privilege, adding that the societal and class norms of the day meant sexual ambiguity was not an option.
According to Buyers, de Grieux is introverted to where his passions lie and this includes his sexuality, opening up a powerful story of secrets and seduction because it is “controlled and constricted” in the world he lives.
It was the preparation for the role that contains nudity and sex scenes that Byers says was critical in building chemistry. Now comfortable in any environment with his cast, he attributes that to some great direction.
As well as being hooked up with a personal trainer, he also had to go on a personal journey of sharing his physicality. He laughed about having to maintain a nice pastey white skin and having a summer without sun to pull of his character’s vampire hours lifestyle.
The world premiere of Teleny happens at Chapel-off-Chapel next week.
Photo credits: Jacqueline Barkla