I've not spoken much about How To Be A Man since it finished. While everyone who saw seemed to love it, it didn't match the success of its predecessors He Died With a Felafel in His Hand and The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco, and I blamed myself for that. I didn't promote enough, I didn't direct well enough, etcetera, etcetera. I also worried about its reception amongst some key people whose opinion really mattered to me, and I felt like I let some of those people down.
Being a director can be a very lonely business.
Regardless, I'm possibly prouder of HTBAM than the other two shows, because it really was a foray into the unknown and bizarre, and more ambitious in virtually every staging element. I had the most amazing cast, and now that they're all off doing other shows (including The Boys Next Door at the Brisbane Arts Theatre and The Laramie Project at Nash Theatre), I really miss them, and hope that they think of me with something at least approaching fondness.
I'm also proud of HTBAM because I like to think it incorporated some nice messages about acceptance and tolerance and just living to let live.
Take, for example, this fabulous drag 'n' dance number, featuring Gay Jesus and his Naughty Nuns:
Sometimes you just have visions in your head, and when I read the part in Simon Bedak's script about Gay Jesus doing a dance routine, Lady Gaga immediately sprang to mind. I just wanted a beautiful Gay Jesus, wearing a Jesus Christ Superstar shirt, singing about how God makes no mistakes - and I'm so pleased to have put that on the stage.
Last night I became aware via Twitter that Katter's Australian Party has released a rather startling attack advertisement towards Campbell Newman. Frankly this sort of stuff makes me want to thump my head against a wall. I know it's an election, I know Katter's Australian Party is trying to secure votes from disgruntled former National Party voters - but it's sad to see overt homophobia being used like this in 2012. Gay people aren't the end of the world, KAP.
However, it's given me a great reason to bring out another corker of a scene from HTBAM - a cameo from Bob Katter himself. His speech is actually ripped from a media release issued by Katter in August 2011. I tweeted about it when I received it; playwright Simon Bedak immediately demanded I email it to him, and several weeks later it turned up in the HTBAM script.
One of my young actors demanded the role. He's always had a good nose for politics, and a great ability at stage caricature. I think you'll agree it's an uncanny impression, and rightly became one of the most popular bits of the play.
I've always thought humour the best answer to ignorance, so it was a delight to stage some fun satire alongside the giant genital costumes and time-travellers. I'll forever remain indebted to HTBAM for allowing me that opportunity.