“I grew up in Singapore, a country known for many great things, but not for liberalism, permissiveness or the acceptance of love in all its beautiful, multifaceted forms.
I absconded to Australia, which I now call home, not least because I wanted to live in a country and culture that valued openness, and the validity and value of diverse experiences.
I was young enough, naïve enough, coloured by colonialism enough to believe in the Enlightened West as an unqualified good for the world … and now …
Well, here we are, in this world, at this time, with these people in charge.
I’ve heard it said (somewhere) that in times of extreme duress people will do what they’ve always done, just more.
And I, like everyone else around me, have seen the world, and like everyone else around me, feel compelled to respond.
But what with? And how?
I’ve been making ‘political work’ for a while now, wondering whether my message was reaching anyone who should hear it, or whether I was preaching to the choir, and what I could do about that. I’m sure this problem plagues many artists.
Unveiling: Gay Secks 4 Endtiems is the first work I’ve made in a long time that I’ve loved.
Why? Because it does what it set out to do, and because it does something different in this seemingly apocalyptic world and an arts scene saturated with content about the awfulness of it all.
I believe in it because I believe in art that pushes boundaries and explores strange new territories.
I believe in art that entertains as well as asks questions.
But I think what I love about it more than anything else is that it’s hopeful – unabashedly hopeful in a way that doesn’t belittle the trials of the day or trivialise the struggle of people demanding to be seen as equals.
That is the essence of deviance, of queerdom, in Unveiling: Gay Secks 4 Endtiems. At the end of the day, we must seek hope in resistance, in defiance, in laughter (we must always LOL at worst in the world). We must seek better futures and better worlds.
The Unveiling team is a gang of misfits, even in the misfit world of artists and performance makers. We are strange, weird humans, and Unveiling is the product of strange, weird humans trying to envision a world in which we would like to live.
The Book of Revelation was our jump-off point and it is an absolute trip.
It is the most ‘mythological’ of the biblical books, full of dragons and beasts with 10 heads and seven horns. At its heart it is about a holy, sinless city being created for everyone to live in, and about the sinful and the hateful (and the musicians and fornicators) left outside the gates. Unveiling is a performative exploration of what it would mean if those sinners created their own utopia.
As the kind of people who would be left outside the gates in the perfect world being made at the moment, we saw this as our chance to dream.
Unveiling embraces a broad definition of queerness, and embraces into its fold ideas of intersectionality and feminism, all of which are examined in the work. The work begins by depicting the “sinful” and their supposed cures, and winds up in an explosion of ecstatic celebration, calling down oppressors of all stripes.
In a #metoo world, and an Australia still recovering from the ravages of the marriage vote, Unveiling seeks to be part of the conversation that can lead us out of the darkness, and find space again for support, succour, and celebration.
The result has been, perhaps, the most satisfying of my career so far. The work is an absolute trip through verbatim theatre, sexy chicken dancing, campy-hammy comedy, boot scootin’, the US Navy, The Wizard of Oz, aliens (and other metaphorical outsiders) and Aliens (the Sigourney Weaver film), and everything in between.
We rage, we reflect, we party, we get naked, we glitter, and we hope. We hope, and we dream, because in the reality of the present that we find ourselves in, it’s not merely all we can do, it’s one of the most important things we can possibly do.
And I’m so excited to bring it to you.”