The film ‘Get Real’ was based on Patrick Wilde’s play ‘What’s Wrong With Angry?’ which was first performed at The Lost Theatre in Fulham, London on 8th September 1993 by the Wild Justice Company. The production was directed by Patrick Wilde himself, and starred 19-year old Tom Wisdom in the part of Steven Carter.
The US Premiere of What’s Wrong With Angry? opened on September 22nd, 2000 at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles.
On January 20th 1994 the play transferred to the Oval House; it later moved to the Battersea Arts Centre, where Patrick Wilde played the part of the schoolteacher, Simon Hutton.
So, what are the major differences between the stage and screen versions? Well, both still feature Steven Carter as the central character, his best friend is ‘cuddly’ Linda and he has a clandestine affair with Head Boy, John (although on stage it’s John Westhead rather than John Dixon).
Of the most notable changes, the character Simon Hutton (the schoolteacher) plays a much more major role in the play. Hutton is a gay teacher at Steven’s school, and is the one person who could help him, but could obviously lose his job for doing so. Hutton has been through the gay scene, and experienced the life of ‘cottage’ sex. He so much wants to reach out and help, but is held back by his position at the school. In many ways the play makes a statement about Clause 28 and the criminalisation of any promotion of homosexuality in a positive manner within Britain’s schools. Hutton’s character seems frustrated an ultimately fails to be there for Steven when he really needs it.
Steven, following this call for help, goes through a nightmare suicide sequence in which he is taunted by other characters, leading up to Steven’s own decision to live his own life – “no matter what it takes”. The play ends with Steven dancing defiantly with his arms in the air.
Other changes made to the film treatment of the play include the school – which originally was ‘English Martyrs’ Roman Catholic all boys school and became The Belvedere School – a typical mixed comprehensive state school.
Glen, the guy Steven meets outside the toilet at the beginning of the film is also in the play, but on stage the second meeting of Glen (this time with his wife) happens right at the end and again outside the toilet.
In the film, Steven and Linda go to a wedding, in the play it’s Steven’s Nan’s funeral in London.
In the toilet sequence when Steven passes notes through the cubicle wall to John, that action takes place at the urinal.
Linda doesn’t live next door to Steve in the play, and in the film scene where Linda is planning to spend an evening with Steven and Mel Gibson, this was originally never the intention and Linda passes John who turns up at the house just as she is leaving to catch her cab.
The ‘famous model’ Christina Lindman from Get Real is Jenny Keeley, the Head Girl of the local Girl’s school in the play.
Applications for performances should be made in advance, before rehearsals begin, to Diane Tyler, MBA Literary Agents, 45 Fitzroy Street, London W1P 5HR.