Rent - by Jonathan Larson

A stark and colourful record of the boisterous, lean, and sensual world of eternal Bohemia”


The premise is a day in the life of a present day artist’s collective.  This is the day that the collective are performing their ‘version’ of Rent in their studio.  The day starts when they start coming in to ‘work’.  They have all been working on different aspects of the project and are responsible for making them work alongside everything else going on.

They are industrious, work minded and dressed to do the job - i.e. overalls/whatever.  They come in with cups of coffee/croissants/their own bags etc which they stow in their workspaces.  They then begin checking that everything is ready - last minute checks or putting the flying into place.

As the audience enters, they are setting it all up - the band are getting in position, the flying is happening, they are working together as a team.  Everyone has a task and knows what they are doing.  

At a signal their ‘presentation’ begins and those that are performing the roles, transform into their 1990’s characters and flamboyant costumes influenced by the clothing from 1800's France from where  these colourful characters really lived.

This quote is taken from La Vie de Bohème (full title in French, Scènes de la vie de bohème) which is a work by Henry Murger, published in 1851. Although it is commonly called a novel, it doesn't follow a standard novel form. Rather, it is a collection of loosely related stories, all set in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s, romanticizing bohemian life.

It is this book of short stories that Jonathan Larson used as a starting point when creating 'Rent' - he did not use - as is commonly thought - Puccini's 'La Boheme' as his inspiration.  Puccini also used 'La Vie de Boheme' as his inspiration when writing 'La Boheme' in the late 1800's.