Actors participate in revealing rehearsals for The Full Monty

Story focuses on group of men trying to support families

The phrase “the full monty” generally refers to everything necessary, or the works.

Since the popularity of the movie The Full Monty, it’s achieved a second meaning – to reveal all in a striptease act.

Whether the actors in Schmooze Production’s presentation of the play go “the full monty” is something director Dean Chadwick refuses to reveal.

“I’ll never tell,” he said.

The play is based on the popular British film about a group of steelworkers left unemployed and trying any way they can to earn a living. The play, which was adapted from the movie for Broadway audiences, takes place in Buffalo, New York.

“It’s about real people trying to eke out a living as best they can,” Chadwick said.

The story follows Jerry, played by Xander France, out of work and facing the loss of custody of his son. He sees women enjoy the famous Chippendales dancers and decides that he and his friends could make decent money performing in an all-male revue.

Chadwick said it’s a rag-tag group of men dealing with the same self-esteem and body issues that women face.

The rehearsal process included creating a secure atmosphere where the actors felt safe exploring the roles. Discussions about mind set throughout the play happened often.

“A sense of humour plays a big role in this as well,” Chadwick said.

One of his favourite scenes is the introduction of Malcolm, played by Erik Gow, who is so down on his luck he might commit suicide.

“Make no mistake – it is the funniest scene,” Chadwick said.

The 15-member cast, many of whom Chadwick worked with on previous productions, was chosen through open auditions. Roger Lappin designed the set while Lorna McLellan took care of costumes. Rick Becker leads the band, which provides live music for the play.

“Everybody clicked really well,” he said. “Their chemistry is fantastic – you feel as if they’re life-long friends.”

Chadwick said he wanted to bring his own production of The Full Monty to the stage after seeing the play in Vancouver 15 years ago as part of its first Canadian tour.

“As soon as it ended, I said I’m going to get my hands on that,” Chadwick said. “The audience is sucked in right from the beginning. They get to know and love these characters.”

The Full Monty opens April 19 and runs Thursday to Saturday, 8 p.m., at Nanaimo Centre Stage, 25 Victoria Rd., until May 12. Tickets $20 at Rich 1 Beauty or online at www.schmoozeproductions.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com