‘Member’ is the heartbreaking and thrilling dive into Australian history that highlights and explores the gay hate epidemic that swept across Sydney during the '80s and '90s.
Ben Noble, playwright and actor, made the decision to explore this issue through his play ‘Member’ after an event that occurred overseas. “I came up with the idea during the time where Russia has just put their new homosexual law in place and it just led me down the rabbit hole of research. I wanted to see if anything like that had happened in Australia; the more I researched, the more cases I found of assault and even murder. I found the cases of the gay hate epidemic that happened across Sydney in the '80s and '90s, the level of discrimination is unbelievable. I thought to myself, what is going on, why aren’t we talking about this?”Image © Deryk McAlpin
‘Member’ was created under the Fairly Lucid Production Company where Ben is Creative Producer. He says creating the performance as a one man show plays homage to the beginnings of the company.
“The company has been around for 10 years and I wanted to pay homage to how it begun. I also wanted to challenge myself with this show, and really kind of show the difference between how we started and what the company has become now. The show follows 16 people really pushed to the edge of human emotions. It’s hard to perform and hard to sit through some scenes but it is very rewarding.”Image © Deryk McAlpin
Ben gives the victims of this terrifying blood sport real dignity and respect by diving into the court recording, transcripts and statements from the individuals involved. He discusses how important it was for him to gain the first hand resources.
“It was very important. I really wanted to touch on the facts and have that woven throughout the show. The characters themselves aren’t real people but some of the lines they say are quotes from the terrifying perpetrators, witnesses, family members and even victims,” he says. “The hidden elements and evidence gives rest to the people that died as well as their families. I want to raise awareness by starting the discussion about how people were treated and whether or not that has shifted and changed.”
The piece invites the audience to be challenged. Creating pieces that push the boundaries is something that Ben has a strong passion for. He explains what he hopes audiences will get from this piece.Image © Deryk McAlpin
“I want to challenge the audience by sparking the conversation. I want to really open up an audience to things that aren’t accessible. I didn’t want the show to be unwatchable, but I wanted to push the boundaries of what we are used to seeing to really spark that conversation about how people were and still are treated,” he says. “I want people to start having those chats. People sit in the theatre and they don’t just watch they participate by spreading the word and getting the info out there.”
The show will be fittingly performed at the Mardi Gras, something that Ben is beyond excited about: “It’s my first time performing so I’m very excited. It’s a perfect debut, people come to celebrate and even though the nature of this show is a bit dark and works to acknowledge what’s happened, it’s also about entertaining.”
'Member' plays at the Blood Moon Theatre as part of Mardi Gras from 21 February-4 March.