What’s the nature of influence?
If the Same Same 25 list of Australia’s 25 most influential gays and lesbians is anything to go by, then we as a community are standing tall.
I must add it’s also about time someone picked up where the Mardi Gras Hall of Fame left off.
My alter ego was privileged enough to work with three of the SS 25: David Page as part of the crew backstage working on his one-man show; Neil Armfield on Gulpilil; and iOTA on Berlin.
David’s show was called Page 8, and told the amazing story of his life, ending with a piece of what I believe was theatrical history – David dressed as Tina Turner.
We travelled around Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. I heard the show more than 300 times – because I was backstage I never actually saw the entire thing. But what I also heard was the amazing response he got after every performance. To me it was truly inspiring.
David Page is the most genuine, caring, generous person I have ever worked with. Not only did he welcome me into his family, but they also extended the welcome to mine.
The Page family has such an extensive range of talent – and we shouldn’t forget David’s partner Darren Dale, whose film work led to him being an organiser of the Message Sticks festival at the Opera House, among other projects.
Working with Neil Armfield was enlightening. He is, in my opinion, the best director of theatre in Australia. His knowledge of theatre craft is awe-inspiring and his recipe for beetroot salad is to die for.
Working with iOTA has been phenomenal. As you most likely know his voice is sublime, but the thing that impresses me most is that he flies across the stage several times through his current show, Berlin.
I am deathly afraid of heights and even though he flies every night I still can’t bear to watch. I guess that is what makes them all part of the 25 most influential gay and lesbian Australians – they go above and beyond the norm. They all have overcome so many barriers and remained genuine.
I only hope that one day I can achieve even half of what they have.
PS. I just learned that video footage of David Page’s Tina Turner number from Page 8, along with the dress, shoes and wig, is now on exhibition at the Canberra Museum. Next time you are in Canberra check it out.