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About Rent

Rent deals with starving artists living in New York City’s East Village. It focuses on the lives of Mark, a film-maker, who’s girlfriend, Maureen, a drama queen performance-artist-turned-lesbian, leaves him for another woman, Joanne who is an attorney. Mark lives with his roommate Roger, a struggling musician who just wants to write “one great song” before he dies of AIDS. One day he meets Mimi, an S&M dancer also with AIDS, and who is addicted to heroin. They fall in love. Mark and Roger’s ex-roommate Tom Collins, a philosopher, who has just returned from M.I.T meets and falls in love with Angel, a Latino street-drummer/drag queen.They also have AIDS. Mark and Roger are continuously hounded by their ex-roommate Benny, who is now their extremely wealthy landlord begging them for the rent. It focuses on a year in their lives, and their struggles of paying the rent, eviction, death, drugs, and living one day at a time




Christmas Eve - an aspiring film maker Mark begins to make a documentary. He focus’s in on his room-mate Rodger who is tuning his guitar and trying to write ‘one great song’. The group live in the East village and struggle to pay their rent, despite owing it to one of their old friends Benny, who has left and married a rich woman. Their friend Collins comes to visit but is mugged on his way to the building and is found by Angel, a drag queen. The two both have AIDS and begin a bond. Mark tries to get Rodger to leave the apartment and face the world after his girlfriend dumped him and became a lesbian. Rodger is also suffering with AIDS and wants to make his mark on the world, when their neighbour Mimi arrives to ask for a light on her candle. The pair flirt and Mimi keeps letting her candle out so they can stay together.

Angel arrives with Collins and Benny tries to persuade the group to make Maureen cancel her protest against him. They reject his offer and Angel and Collins invite Mark and Roger to attend their AIDS support group meeting. Mark is called to help Maureen’s sound equipment for her protest, meeting her new girlfriend Joanne. They both commiserate about Maureen’s unfaithful ways. Mimi is a stripper and attempts to seduce Rodger, but he is afraid of falling in love again and reveals that he is scared of dying of AIDS. Collins tells Angel about his plans of moving to Santa Fe and the pair confess their love for each other, beginning a relationship. The group gather to watch Maureen’s protest show, and Roger finds Mimi buying drugs on the street. Maureen’s performance is avant garde and depicts Benny in a bad life. The group move on to the Life Café where they celebrate their life as bohemians Mimi and Rodger realise both of them have AIDS and they share their first kiss. The group are told they have to leave their apartment as there is a riot on the streets caused by Maureen’s protest.

The second act begins on New Year’s Eve as the group attempt to get back into their apartment. Mark’s footage of the riots appears on TV but he refuses to sell out. Benny reveals that he is a former lover of Mimi, which upsets Rodger. Maureen and Joanne fight about their relationship and we move forward to Spring of the next year. Rodger is growing jealous of Mimi and Benny’s relationship and accuses her of having an affair, when actually she is just taking drugs. Angel’s body begins to be consumed by AIDS and he passes away, leaving Collins heartbroken. At his funeral Mark begins to worry what will happen when all of his friends die around him. He accepts a job offer from the news company. Mimi and Rodger break up and both Rodger and Mark have an artistic epiphany as Mark decides to make his film about Angel’s memory and Rodger writes his song about Mimi.

As time moves on Collins finds money in an ATM as Maureen and Joanne find a dying Mimi who manages to tell Rodger that she loves him. He plays his new song to her as she passes away, but suddenly jumps back to life saying Angel told her to stay away from the light. The show ends a year after it began and the Bohemians rejoice in what they have.

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Rent Cast

Rent Theatre Details

St James Theatre
12 Palace Street

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