Five-time Helpmann Award winner Paul Capsis takes on one of the most transformative and challenging roles of his career as The Naked Civil Servant, Quentin Crisp at fortyfivedownstairs from 26 May 2016, before playing Sydney and Canberra.
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, there was no one quite like Quentin Crisp.
“He was THE prototype androgynous man,” says Capsis. “Before Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Liberace, Reg Livermore, before the times we could categorize or describe a person as transgender or sexually ambiguous, there was Quentin.”
Directed by Green Room Award winner Gary Abrahams, UK playwright Tim Fountain’s Resident Alien invites audiences to the legendary writer’s famously filthy New York apartment for an unforgettable heart to heart about life as only he knows it. Oprah Winfrey, Princess Diana, oral sex – no topic is off limits as Quentin explains, in his inimitable way, how to be happy.
For producer Cameron Lukey, this philosophy is what makes Quentin so relevant; “You can disagree with his opinions on any number of subjects, but it’s hard to argue with his example,” says Lukey. “Quentin lived in the present and always embraced what life had to offer him, letting go of the need to fit into any world, gay or straight, and embracing his otherness.”
“For many people who grew up feeling rejected for their sexuality, or at best, accepted in spite of it, Quentin was a rare example of someone who won admiration and respect FOR his otherness. That was the power of his attitude.”
From his AFI nominated role in Head On, to his recent appearance in the STC and Malthouse Theatre’s Calpurnia Descending, Capsis has forged a remarkable career playing with androgyny. In Resident Alien, he relishes the opportunity to pay tribute to a personal hero:
“When it really was dangerous to play with gender, Quentin went there, with his blue eye shadow, permed purple hair and his cravats and lapelled gardenia’s, prancing down the war torn streets of homophobic London in the 40s,” says Capsis. With his razor sharp wit and frank telling of how he saw the world, nothing was spared.”
“He was like a Joan Rivers without the punch lines. In this regard, Quentin Crisp was a most important figure. A lone revolutionist. We need to be reminded of people like him, before the times of Caitlyn Jenner and the Kardashians!”
“A compilation of wit, wisdom and reminiscence, – a superb study of a style that represses sentiment” – New York Times
Director: Gary Abrahams Performer: Paul Capsis Set & Costume Designer: Romanie Harper Lighting Designer: Rob Sowinski Sound Designer: Daniel Nixon Producer: Cameron Lukey
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: 26 May – 12 June 2016 (preview: 25 May)
Information and bookings: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com
Image: Paul Capsis in Resident Alien – photo by Sarah Walker