Another Dead Fag has me thinking, and its probably not about what you’d expect.
As the title suggests, Sam Brooks’ latest work, is set in the aftermath of a gay suicide. It’s sad, people around me cried and I kept hearing around me, this is Sam’s best yet. And I’ll agree it is Sam’s best piece of writing yet.
Seb (Dan Veint) is dead. His older sister Abby (Lauren Gibson) and cousin Mordecai (Chris Parker) quarrel about responsibility and guilt, who Seb was and what he wanted. Seb’s ex boyfriend arrives, David (Jordan Blaikie). David is sad. Mordecai was Seb’s idol, the great gay role model. However Mordecai didn’t exactly fit the mould that Seb had created for him. Questions start to pop up, could Mordecai have been there more? Or was it inevitable? Just Seb being Seb. Was it because he was gay? It wasn’t because he was gay and bullied. Why. Seb was difficult, everyone seems to agree about that. But why couldn’t Abby get through to him? And for Mordecai – why does he have to live, when Seb, lucky, mostly happy Seb gets to live?
The staging is intimate. It’s hard for a show not to be intimate when it’s in the Basement’s Loft but set in thrust and in Seb’s bedroom it’s just a little bit more so. Although a bit too bright in places (go darker!!!) Amber Molloy has done a beautiful job of the lighting, it’s the upper lip to Jessica Hyunh’s set (the bottom lip). Together it’s one beautiful pair of lips.
As it was opening the house was packed. As it was bright you could see everyone, feel everyone, sense everyones responses to the action emerging on stage. For an actor that can be darn hard but the cast did a stunning job. A personal stand out for me was Chris Parker.
I enjoyed myself yet, I didn’t get sad, I didn’t seem to respond in quite the way everyone else did at all. Instead I got thinking.
See, I’m not sure if I’m Sam Brooks’ target audience. I’m a girl, I’m not gay. But at the same time, I think that it is really great that Sam is writing gay plays. He’s writing what he knows and what he feels is important which is so important in itself. It’s why every play he writes is an improvement on the one previous.
But I got thinking, who is the target audience of these plays? Because I don’t think that plays about gay experiences should be only enjoyed by gay people. To me that’s silly.
Yet, watching Another Dead Fag I couldn’t work out whether Seb was a caricature of ‘gayness’ or whether that was just his personality or whether he was heightened on purpose or what. But then there was Mordecai and David who were the more familiar representations of ‘gay’ (I put gay in speech marks because it feels wrong to make definite assumptions of what the title stands for when it comes to the personal).
Trying to negotiate Seb vs Mordecai vs David ended up throwing me down the rabbit hole. I don’t what it’s like to be a gay guy. In total honesty when I’m interacting with people in real life I don’t spend the whole time thinking, ‘I’m talking to a gay person’ – to me their sexuality isn’t really that important. BUT it is important. Or at least, I get the impression that sexual identity is really important to a lot of people. After a while all this thought got me a bit AHHHHHH.
Which brings me to a conclusion that is probably slightly different to what others may write about – I’m assuming that the issue of gay suicide will come up in a lot of other reviews. For me that is not the issue in Another Dead Fag. It’s simply the catalyst for a conversation about identity. And for the realisation that if you do actively think of people of a homosexual orientation as ‘GAY’ then it’s actually not that simple at all.
So who is the target audience? I. don’t. know. I’m assuming that gay audiences will love to see their experiences on stage. But it’s also really challenging on the basis of just thinking about how different people are. And that’s pretty great.
Another Dead Fag runs at the Basement til Saturday Night.
Tonight is a fundraiser for Rainbow Youth (Show your support!)
Tickets are available here.