“That was the whole point of the play, so let’s pay homage to the dick.”
While season 2 ofEuphoria Nearing its end, with its final episode airing Sunday night on OCS, the penultimate episode thrilled fans of the series by featuring a play written by Lexi (Maude Apatow). And in this play, a scene in particular caught the attention and marked the spirits. A scene deciphered by Ryan Heffingtonits choreographer.
Attention, from this line, we will spoiler in this article.
Carried by Ethan (Austin Abrams), the final sequence of Lexi’s play features a handsome high school student, supposed to represent the bad guy Nate (Jacob Elordi) in the middle of a sports session surrounded by his teammates. An ironic scene, very homo-erotic and full of sexual innuendo, to the delight of the audience present (except Nate, of course). Dancing to the tune of “Holding out for a Hero” of Bonnie Tyler, Ryan Heffington explains to variety that this song was the main inspiration for the choreography created. “I knew she was – and had to be – ‘larger than life'” (referring to music). Speaking with Sam Levinson, creator and director of the series, Heffington recalls that the initial script called for “tons of baby oil, rubs and massages”and that would be “super homo-erotic”. Next to this scene, it was necessary that “David Bowie looks straight. So that was a really good starting point for where I needed to go with this piece.”
The choreographer of the recent Tick, Tick… Boom! therefore concentrated, with his assistant Ryan Spencer, on Bonnie Tyler’s hit and on his vision of adolescent hormones to create the movements of the piece, which is “based on a teenager’s psyche, so I wanted it to have a definite humorous basis. In high school, boys only think about ejaculation and the senses of sexuality 24 hours a day, so I wanted to incorporate as much of that as possible into this piece.”explains Heffington. “It was just an ode to us high school boys. There’s a lot of inflections, and it’s ‘campy’. When you think of high school plays, they are sometimes a little theatrical. That’s why we love them. So I wanted to pay homage to that too – the fact that it’s not a professional production, even though it was way over budget.”
For the dancers, Heffington surrounded himself with professionals, but also worked a lot with Austin Abrams, who is not a trained dancer. “We talked a lot about it being part of Nate’s psyche, and maybe Nate’s ultimate fantasy – whether he’s indeed gay, bi or whatever”explains Heffington. “But it was complicated choreography that moved really fast, and I think once Austin could see that we trusted him and his choices, he blossomed as a dancer. We We worked really hard on the moves that were challenging for him, and he gave it his all. He was never scared, and he’s the best kind of actor to work with.”
Ethan ate and left no crumbs. he put his whole Ethanussy into this play. somebody give this man the Tony he deserves. pic.twitter.com/mFmbilSEpp
— robin (@itsrobinrubio) February 21, 2022
Intense work, pushed by 5 days of rehearsal, which once filmed is worth it: Levinson’s first reaction was to say “You are a fucking genius”. Opinion shared by Maddy (Alexa Demie) who yells the same at Lexi. “So I knew I was doing something right”said Heffington.
Finally, for the grand finale, Heffington stages punching bags and two medicine balls to form a giant penis on the stage. A performance which, for the choreographer, is the raison d’être of this piece “based on lower chakras, grunts, teenage cavemen”. He concludes : “Let’s pay homage to the dick.”
Euphoria breaks world record for penis in a single scene
Heffington then reacts to the controversy that followed the broadcast of this episode. Because if for the majority, this homo-erotic scene is a symbol of affirmation (but also a revenge against Nate), others go there as a form of homophobia (and Nate the first). For Ryan Heffington, “Euphoria is fictional – it’s an exaggerated version of teenage life and addiction, homophobia, fear of coming out. I hope they will understand that this is a representation, not real life. Let’s appreciate this art that Sam has created, and don’t take it to heart and say it’s the way it is or it should be the way it is, but let it inspire us to make more art. (…) Let’s double down on the high school recital – let’s rise to the occasion!”
Euphoria is available on OCS in France, and already offers two seasons and two special episodes. The series, created by Sam Levinson from an Israeli production, includes in its cast the actress Zendaya, also producer of the show.