Life in a gay body

Life in a gay body

The play Walk In Dirt first sparked into existence six years ago and, ever since, its creator and performer Stephen House has been certain each new season would be its last.

It has played in Adelaide, Perth, Ireland and regional South Australia and, after he completed the Darwin season in August last year, House was certain that would be it for his one-man show.

Each time as I finish a season, I put all the stuff back into bags and am sure that I can pack it all away and leave it, House says. But then something else comes up and I am back on stage doing it again, as in the case with this new Sydney season.

Walk In Dirt opens at The Crypt Theatre in Balmain on Wednesday 19 April. The story was originally written for a collection of short works titled Piercing The Skin in Adelaide in 2000, and was later developed as its own stand-alone theatrical piece in 2003 at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Walk In Dirt follows the adventures of a man who goes for a walk into the urban underworld, and the range of people he encounters along the way.

Through the journey, he meets such characters as the angry man, drunk old woman, showgirl, hooker and the sick man. House takes on all the roles of the story.

Originally, when the show was commissioned for Piercing The Skin, it was a monologue about the body, and I wanted to make mine a statement about masculinity and sexuality, House says.

With Walk In Dirt, I wanted to develop that statement about being in a man’s body and the way the world views males and the experience of masculinity.

It explores being in a body that is not heterosexual -“ a gay body, a bi body or a transgender body.

While Walk In Dirt has played a number of successful seasons, Adelaide native House admits he is particularly excited about this Sydney season, which will mark his performing debut in the Harbour City.

I have never performed in Sydney -“ well, I have performed in other ways, but never on stage, he laughs.

I am so happy to finally be in Sydney as it is a town I have wanted to work in, and I think the show will work beautifully at The Crypt.

House has written 13 plays and three short films and is a two-time AWGIE Award winner for his plays Vin and I Said A Word.

Performing really is not my main occupation as I am working consistently as a playwright and I also direct a lot of my own work, he explains.

Walk In Dirt is actually something I do in between times. But I love it and, as a writer, presenting a performance of my work is the most intimate way I can tell a story.

Walk In Dirt plays 19-30 April 2006 at The Crypt Theatre, Cat & Fiddle Hotel, Balmain. Book on 9810 7931.

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