In Adelaide, it’s Feast Festival time and cabaret performer David Forster has just wrapped a photo shoot for his one-man show, Half A Person: My Life As Told By The Smiths.
Written by Alex Broun, the play is inspired by the life of sexually suss 1980s singer, Morrissey (frontman of The Smiths) and the photos are a nod in the direction of the pop star’s erotic appeal.
But Forster found his first nude photo shoot a little overwhelming.
There’s nothing more humbling than seeing pictures of yourself nude, especially with the pictures that don’t work out, he said.
You know, the ones with the rolls of flesh and with the bits that didn’t fall in the right place.
It’s hard to imagine this being a major problem for the 23-year-old singer and actor. In magazine parlance, he’s easy on the eye. Fortunately his physical attributes are matched in equal parts with a fine musical talent.
Half A Person is his second one-man musical. His first, Do You Know The Way To Ballarat, premiered at Feast in 2003 and was picked up at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival the following year, before travelling to Melbourne for a season in the Butterfly Club.
In Do You Know the Way -¦ Forster tackled issues of young gay love and the tyranny of distance. Half A Person is different, but thematically the two pieces are similar.
In both, gay sexuality and search for identity play a part.
If Forster had any reservations about getting typecast by his gay roles, he didn’t let on.
An artist is essentially someone who is in touch with themselves and can present that to the world, he said.
If Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger can play convincing gay characters in Brokeback Mountain, then gay actors can play convincing straight characters.
Forster has made a few attempts to take on the mainstream with that attitude. He was an openly gay contestant on Channel Ten’s short-lived reality show The Resort (2004) and also fronted up for the Australian Idol auditions, reaching the top 100.
For Forster it has always been about the quality of the work, regardless of sexuality.
The more I can question myself, the more my roles will become true and, whether they’re gay or straight, it doesn’t really matter, he said.
I’d rather open myself up to the challenge and go for roles that I haven’t done before and keep on growing.
Half A Person: My Life As Told By The Smiths will run as part of Adelaide’s Feast Festival from 22 to 25 November. Visit the Feast website for venue and booking details.