THE CHOIR takes us inside a dormitory of orphaned youths who have been castrated to keep their voices pure and help assure their winning performance in an upcoming choral competition. But harmony is the last thing in their lives.
Brutally in your face, THE CHOIR stirred up a viper’s nest of passions when it surfaced at the 1980 Australian National Playwrights Conference. In addition to castration, it deals with homosexuality and sadism, as manifested among seven youths who are all but prisoners of a ruthless offstage matron. Although played by adult actors, the characters range in age from 12 to 16, which gives an additional edge to the play.
Only Andrew, the oldest of the youths, has managed to escape the knife, and he functions as a combination lover and warden to the others, defusing their frustrations and keeping them in line. In a series of short, staccato scenes, frustrations build, however, and by the play’s particularly blunt and bloody climax, Andrew’s charges have taken up the knife themselves.