Tommy Murphy said he doesn’t write gay plays, although he admitted three out of four characters in his latest work Strangers In Between are eventually revealed as homosexual.

His resistance seems to explain why the play was not included under the Mardi Gras Festival umbrella, despite being performed during February and March.

This is not so -“ a last-minute programming switch by Griffin Theatre meant they missed the MG guide deadline -“ but Murphy might have had reservations anyway.

I imagine a lot of gay artists experience that, Murphy said.

That thing of being boxed in, of being typecast as that type of writer. Maybe it’s also a fear of the story not being universal, that people won’t come to the theatre.

As a gay artist you want to speak to your own community, but really you want to speak to the broader community, I think -¦ It’s a difficult thing, because I’m very proud of being gay, he said.

Murphy’s rise has been swift: he’s now 25, and has written six plays since he staged his first work in a church hall at Queanbeyan when he was 16.

(That play For God, Queen And Country was definitely gay, Murphy said, and he used it to come out to his mother.)

His play Troy’s House is now on show at Melbourne’s La Mama Theatre, a raw comedy written when he was just 18 -“ which Murphy said is part of its na? charm.

Strangers In Between has been nurtured over the last two years and is a trickier, more mature beast: a black comedy about a country boy who winds up sharing a house in Kings Cross.

It is funny, but it’s impossible to judge with a comedy -¦ You don’t know what’s going to get a laugh and what’s not, he said. And this is, I hope, a gutsy comedy in that it doesn’t shy away from being dramatic and touches on some pretty intense themes.

I’d like the audience to at least come prepared for a surprising comedy and maybe they’ll walk out having seen a drama -“ I don’t know!

Strangers In Between is showing at the SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross, until 12 March. Phone 1300 306 776 for bookings.

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