THEATRE | What maketh a man?

Aaron Pesic, 20, of Smithfield, has been performing since very young, including at Smithfield Public and Prairiewood High schools, and also for local clubs and theatre groups across Sydney. He's about to open in a support role in The Full Monty at Riverside Parramatta. His mum was relieved to hear he's not in the famous nude scene at the end -- but don't relax too soon mum, he does have a funny scene as a would-be stripper. The show is based on the hit 1997 film. It opens this Saturday, September 14 and runs to September 21. Only the "adults-only" shows on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday include the full nude scene.

INTERVIEW

What reactions did you get from friends, family -- your mum -- when you told them you were appearing in The Full Monty at Riverside? I got a good reaction from a lot of family and friends, but my mum and sisters were especially happy I wasn't one of the leads going the full Monty!

What's your day job? I study exercise physiology full-time at the University of New South Wales.

You're not in the famous nude scene at the end but you do have a scene where you test out as a male stripper, right? My character Reg Willoughby, unemployed father of three, thought it'd be a good idea to audition in front of the guys for a spot on the team, but it doesn't work out very well!

The rest of the guys actually do a full Monty -- what is that, exactly? The full Monty is "The Full Monty" which includes a quick full-frontal flash where the boys bare their all to the audience.

At first the boys were a bit flustered and nervous when they got to the clothes-off rehearsals. As the weeks went on they started feeling more comfortable.

AARON PESIC

They must be pretty nervous, are they? How have the full-costume (or lack of) rehearsals gone? At first the boys were a bit flustered and nervous when they started getting down to the clothes-off rehearsals. As the weeks went on and everyone started to become more comfortable with each other, the boys started feeling more comfortable with the whole thing. Each of them wears a modesty pouch during rehearsals so they can practise removing their last articles of clothing and practise the final reveal scene while not being completely nude.

It must take a certain personality to be able to strip in public, do you reckon? I think personality is a key component but also someone who can find the humour and confidence in themselves are also needed to be able to strip in public.

Would you ever do it? That is, take a lead role in The Full Monty? I'd give it a go! There aren't that many shows I'm aware of that go the full Monty on stage, so why not? Especially when you're working with a great director, production team and cast.

At its heart, the show is about unmasking male insecurities and vulnerabilities, which are pretty universal. Or is it just an excuse for guys to get their gear off? I think it's a bit of both, to be honest! The lead boys had to deal with their own insecurities and hurdles, like most men, at exposing themselves. However, now they're having a lot of fun with it.

How confronting is the show? It does touch on masculinity and self-worth issues throughout the show but for the most part it's full of light-hearted comedy, amazing singers, dancers and great choreography.

Tell us about the roles you play in the show? I play several characters, including Reg Willoughby, Tony Giordano and the dance Instructor as well as a few more minor roles, each with their own unique personalities and styles.

How did you get to be in the show? I've worked with the production team before and some of the cast in several previous shows and I knew it'd be of a high standard and a lot of fun to be in therefore I jumped at the chance to audition.

How long have you been acting? When did you start? In what? I come from a performing family, so I've been doing live performances since I was 4. I started off in musicals in Beauty and the Beast at 16.

How long have you lived at Smithfield? What schools did you go to? Did you do performing arts at school? I've lived at Smithfield all my life. I went to Smithfield Public School and Prairiewood High School. During my school years I was always a part of musical performances, both in school and outside.

The South-West is the most multicultural region in Australia. How have you found living here? What positive things has it put into your life? I have friends of all different nationalities and it's great to learn about their cultures. And it's enabled me to broaden my acting abilities and range by helping me to be able to portray so many different characters from so many different backgrounds.

How would The Full Monty, its themes and boundary-crossing, go down amid all the different cultures here in the South-West? The show is much more than just a group of blokes taking their clothes off. It deals with several issues applicable to any culture and the show's production is amazing and every audience will enjoy it.

A warning on the website states "Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, September 17, 18 and and 19, please note these shows are adults-only shows" -- what does this mean? Only these "adults-only shows" will have full-frontal nudity, not the other performances.

What's your personal favourite moment on stage in this show? That's easy! It's during the auditions scenes where one of the men auditions with a very special talent. Sorry, but you'll have to come and see the show to find out what that talent is! OMG.

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