Australian actor and cabaret star Paul Capsis is set to take to Brisbane’s MELT Festival stage playing one of his personal heroes, Quentin Crisp.
The acid-tongued author became a gay icon in the 1970s after the publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant, detailed his life in homophobic British Society.
From his early years as an androgynous nude model in 1930’s London, to finding fame as the first to speak so openly about life as a gay man, Capsis said there was no-one quite like Quentin Crisp, who he considers “the prototype androgynous man.”
“Before Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Liberace, Reg Livermore, before the times we could categorise of describe a person as transgender or sexually ambiguous, there was Quentin,” he said.
In the one-man stage play Resident Alien, Crisp opens the door to his dusty New York apartment to share with audiences a day in his life, offering a heart-to-heart about life as only he knows it.
Capsis says no topic – Oprah Winfrey, Princess Diana, oral sex – is off limits as Crisp explains, in his inimitable way, how to be happy.
The performer said Crisp is a “personal hero” of his and he loves the opportunity to pay tribute to him in Resident Alien.
“When it was really dangerous to play with gender, Quentin went there, with his blue eye shadow, permed purple hair and his cravats and lapelled gardenias,” he said.
“He pranced down the war torn streets of homophobic London in the ’40s. With his razor sharp wit and frank retelling of how he saw the world, nothing was spared.
“He was like Joan Rivers without the punchlines. Quentin Crisp was a most important figure, a lone revolutionist.”
Resident Alien, running from May 17 to May 20, is just one of the more than 20 productions and events on the MELT queer arts and culture festival’s 2018 program, unveiled last month.
The 2018 lineup features an eclectic range of international artists, home-grown heroes and MELT favourites over 11 days spanning diverse genres including comedy, dance, circus, burlesque, visual arts and more.
MELT will kick off with free special events on May 17 to mark IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
Two of the festival’s signature events, the MELT Portrait Prize and the MELT Beauty Pageant, are returning to this year’s festival.
“MELT is an annual celebration of Queensland’s vibrant queer community, providing an opportunity for our LGBTIQ+ friends and allies to come together for two weeks of revelry,” festival director James Lees said.