The mastermind behind Holding The Man is back with a new play -“ but this time it’s all about a good-looking protagonist named Shane and his journey to understanding his identity.

Strangers In Between will have seasons at both the Glen Street Theatre in Belrose and Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres.

The play will see playwright Tommy Murphy re-team with Holding The Man director David Berthold.

[Shane] is a teenage gay guy who leaves his Goulburn home for Kings Cross. He meets two people who will become important to him, Berthold told SSO.

Gradually they’ll form an alternative family. But Shane will confuse this alternative family with his real family, and intimacy with sex.

This will lead to hurt and healing. Tenderness and the desire to heal will replace fear and the desire to hurt.

Strangers In Between tackles the themes of brotherhood and how we make unconventional families. The comedy opens at the Glen Street Theatre on Tuesday 13 May and closes on Saturday 24 May.

The play lays bare how we can hurt each other and how we might heal each other.

Berthold said he found the rawness of the closing scenes of the production very affecting, particularly as one character relives a very painful experience.

The fragility and tenderness of the resolution is breathtaking. That said, it’s also one of the funniest plays I know, Berthold said.

Anyone who saw Holding The Man will know what a skilled comic writer Tommy is, and how he uses humour to lead us into things that might be darker.

There are at least three kinds of gay characters in the play -“ a teenager from the country just emerging into his sexuality, a twentysomething gay guy who’s completely at ease with his sexuality and has been most of his life, and a 50-year-old gay man who is probably a little lonely but who finds the parent inside himself -“ an unlikely trio.

Many in the gay community work to find a family outside of their biological family -“ not always as a surrogate, but sometimes as a complement -“ and this play unfolds one such attempt.

The production stars young actor Sam Dunn and Anthony Phelan. Its season will continue at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta from Tuesday 27 May until Saturday 31 May.

Tickets start from $37. Bookings on 9975 1455 or www.glenstreet.com.au. The Riverside Box Office can be contacted on 8839 3399 or www.riversideparramatta.com.au.

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