Performers from the Actors Centre Australia will take to the Seymour Centre stage in December for Stories from the INside OUT!, a bold piece of verbatim theatre that gives a platform to the array of different voices that make up the wider LGBTI community.
Director Dean Carey has staged verbatim theatre productions at ACA for around a decade, with his actors interviewing their subjects and relaying their stories on stage, free of judgement or agenda. 2013 marks the first time Carey has focused on a specific sector of the community.
“I’d wanted to do one on the (LGBTI) community for such a long time, because I feel such a part of that community and most of my friends are in that mix. This show does capture quite brilliantly real people at this exact moment in time, and how they view the world and issues around them – from Tony Abbott to gay marriage to Mardi Gras to relationships and everything in between,” Carey told the Star Observer.
“It’s going to be a very feisty look at what people in the community feel about the community – whether they even feel a part of the community, and how they feel they’re perceived by other people.”
Among the 24 different people represented on stage are a TV presenter, a Broadway star, a gay Ambassador – even Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s lesbian sister, Christine Forster.
“We’ve got voices ranging from 22 to 83, covering the whole gamut of what people’s relationship is to the wider community. We’re tracking across gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, bisexual; all the different aspects of the community, and it makes for interesting, powerful stuff. It’ll also be quite contentious, I think,” said Carey.
“What we’re finding is there are very distinct differences in opinion about what makes up the community. It surprised me, and it certainly surprised the actors. But we’re dealing with 24 different individually, and fairly randomly selected too – all just wanted to share their stories. I was surprised to find the political divides that sit between the various factions of the gay community.”
It’s certainly been an eye-opening experience for the Actors Centre students, who’ve each spent hours with their subjects, often forming close bonds.
“They’ve loved the experience. I talked to them about how the human species seems to love dividing lines around people, making some people the ‘other’ and saying ‘these people belong, these people don’t belong’,” said Carey.
“It’s such an amazing thing for them to form a relationship with the person they’re interviewing – they see them six or seven times, anywhere up to three or four hours each time. We don’t have any agenda, other than saying ‘Tell us what you want us to share on stage.’ People really speak from their heart and soul, and offer some great perspectives on humanity.”
Stories from the INside OUT!, Seymour Centre, December 4-7. Tickets through seymourcentre.com.au