Stephen Nicolazzo Chats Queer Theatre And Vampire Lesbians.

Stephen Nicolazzo Chats Queer Theatre And Vampire Lesbians.
Image: Image: Sarah Walker Photography

This month marks the final performance from the celebrated independent theatre company Little Ones Theatre, who first burst onto the scene in 2012 with Psycho Beach Party by Charles Busch.

Director Stephen Nicolazzo (Loaded, Looking for Alibrandi, Merciless Gods) spoke with Star Observer about Little Ones Theatre’s decade-plus history and their blockbuster final show as a company, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.

Femme Fatales that Bite

The fabulously-titled show follows the antagonistic relationship between two immortal lesbian vampires, who first met in the eponymous Sodom.

The audience is treated to vignettes throughout their two-millennium-long rivalry as actresses (and exsanguinators) from Sodom all the way to contemporary Las Vegas via 1920’s Hollywood’s silent film era.

Nicolazzo says it is “like every vampire film, silent film, sword and sandal epic and camp melodrama were thrown into a blender to make a protein-heavy smoothie.”

Beginning and Ending with Busch

Having begun their career with a play by Charles Busch, it seems only fitting for Little Ones Theatre to complete their 11-year history with another play by the “master of queer comedy”, who Nicolazzo says he “couldn’t resist re-visiting.”

Busch’s plays “bring pathos to the ridiculous and create cartoon characters with depth and wit”, treating “pop cultural history and genre with the utmost reverence whilst taking the piss all at the same time.”

By ending Little Ones Theatre with a show that is “pure high camp”, Nicolazzo has chosen to end on a high note. “After many years making work about queer shame and history, it felt right to bring Little Ones to a close with a cult classic pure comedy that is unapologetically hysterical, absurd, and funny.”

Over a Decade of groundbreaking Queer Theatre

Little Ones Theatre has not only survived but thrived by extending the meaning of what the queer perspective in theatre can mean, working with celebrated author Christos Tsiolkas on Merciless Gods, performing ambitious projects like a completely silent Dracula and exploring “the pulsing soul of queerness from an Australian perspective.”

It may not seem that long ago to some, but 2012 was a very different environment in the theatre community, and in mainstream culture as it relates to the queer community and queer visibility in media.

“I suppose queerness is now embedded in mainstream culture in a way it wasn’t when we started. Every theatre work has a queer bent at the moment, especially in the indie sector, but I think that is a good thing” says Nicolazzo. “It is everywhere, so I suppose for makers like us, the challenge is finding new ways to interrogate what queerness looks like, what bodies are represented and whose stories we need to tell.”

The next chapter

While Little Ones Theatre may be coming to an end, neither the collaborations between its’ members nor the important voices they have championed are anywhere near done.

The decision to move on has been motivated by pride in what they have achieved as a company, “We have been making independent work together for over ten years, and rather than just fizzle out into obscurity, it felt right to celebrate all of that time together, to make one more work under that banner and send off over a decade of hard work with a joyful climax.”

The new horizon will “just be free of the history that comes with the name ‘Little Ones’” and allow Nicolazzo and the rest of the company the freedom to “experiment in different ways now, and in different contexts.”

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom begins previews at fortyfivedownstairs on November 21, and runs until December 3. Tickets are $35 – $55. Contact fortyfivedownstairs here to arrange wheelchair access on the night of your booking if required.

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