TWO gay icons will converge as famed Aussie performer Paul Capsis takes on the historically significant Quentin Crisp in a one-man show called Resident Alien.
Crisp, author of the Naked Civil Servant and How to Become A Virgin, was breaking gender boundaries from as early as the 1930s in London all the way through to his death in 1999.
“I think it will always be there, whilst we have religion,” he told Star Observer.
“At the core of it, religion is to blame, but I do wonder about that too. If people are not religious but are homophobic.
“But with Quentin it goes beyond homophobia. One of his famous lines was that it wasn’t that he was a homosexual, it was that he was effeminate, that was his sin and I can relate to that.
“He was exiled, he was asked to leave gay venues often. But because of Quentin’s choice to dress as he did and behave as he did, even the homosexual underground rejected him.”
Capsis shot to fame in the 1998 film Head On where he played the trans character Tula and since then the work hasn’t stopped for the Sydney-based performer.
He has performed on stage, television and film, including a number of solo shows, but Crisp is the last character Capsis ever thought he would play.
“He is so different from me that I couldn’t imagine doing someone like him, really,” he said.
“It’s probably one of my fun, most challenging roles ever. It’s quite a multi-faceted, but complex and contradictory man,:
Resident Alien is directed by Green Room Award winner Gary Abrahams and written by UK playwright Tim Fountain and is set in Crisp’s legendary filthy New York apartment, of which he famously said “after the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse”.
Crisp was a celebrated author who was often approached to comment on many issue from AIDS – which he controversially described as a fad – to the death of Princess Diana and nearly 20 years after his death people are still fascinated by the man.
“I think the main principle idea of Quentin is the idea of the individual,” Capsis said.
“Which I think we’re moving further and further away from. More people want to be accepted and they go to such extremes to be accepted.
“The thing about Quentin, is ‘be yourself regardless of everything’.”