Party Snake is the piece I wanted to write since I knew that I wanted to write plays.
It was waiting silently in a corner, sometimes appearing in dreams or “gut feelings”, whispering in my ear making sure I make the decisions and walk down the paths that would lead me to where I needed to be to make it happen.
It’s like that sometimes; it’s not about who you are, sometimes it’s about where you are, who you’re with, what surrounds you that makes you create something. For me that was Melbourne, Ryan Stewart and Lachlan Martin.
I am from New York, bred in a city with a reputation that precedes itself, a city with a mammoth history, a city of colour, wonder, fight, sweat, dirt, blood, violence, redemption, glamour and yes, possibility. But it is now a city that doesn’t need artists anymore, maybe that will change, maybe it won’t, but that’s what it is now.
I realised that and moved to Melbourne and everything changed, my identity, what was important, how I lived and showed love and mostly my art, what I considered sacred, that changed.
From there things tumbled with ease, connections were made, synapses fired, I was constantly inspired in the most unexpected ways.
I met Ryan while doing a show when I was still acting, I met Lachlan (really met him) at a house party of a mutual actor friend.
It was an immediate creative love affair; that’s also how it happens sometimes, you have to fall head over heals in love, and not in the way you think, there is very different love from the one we all know about; don’t worry we cover all this in the show.
And so life tumbled, perfectly to where it needed to be for the show to be born.
Every little step leads you to where you are, the concept is so simple it can be mistaken for trivial, but that is a lot of what Party Snake is about. It’s about identity, what that means, how it’s created and how infinitely impermanent it truly is.
Party Snake is at its simplest a story about the dual life of a drag queen, she is a crass, rambunctious, sparkling explosion of glamour by night and a perfectly mediocre, timid elementary school drama teacher by day.
In that duality lies the drama, the heartbreak and the truth, because we all live a version of that, no one is just one thing, we’re all extraordinarily diverse, intrinsically multifaceted; that is what we try to convey in this show. How we’re really, just all quite the same in our overwhelming differences.
Party Snake is about loneliness, the ringing silence that comes with devoting your life to art, particularly to performance. We take the mask off and reveal the skeleton of an artist, we turn the artist inside out, we step through the looking glass.
Party Snake, perhaps most importantly, is about rebellion, for me drag is the very essence of rebellion, it is by its very nature a revolution.
Drag is questioning everything we know about ourselves, about our identities, it turns things upside down and backwards. It shakes and crumbles all the rules we have about gender and sexuality and despite all the violence and persecution the queer community has faced over the years, drag rebels with humour and grace and beauty.
“If wars were fought the way queens fought oppression this would be one damn beautiful world.”
That’s my favourite line in the show.
We’ve had two very successful runs in Adelaide and Melbourne already, both were sold out, both resulted in some wonderful reviews. Sydney is a whole new challenge for us.
I’ve have to leave Australia and am back in NYC (you can ask the Australian Immigration Department about that) and Ryan is now sailing the ship alone. Luckily Lachlan and the script have become ingrained in one another so the show will be ready with or without me.
Sydney has very much been the pioneer city for Queer art and culture in Australia, as soon as the question was asked we all unanimously agreed that we must take the show there next. I think just like us, our creations breath and take in their surroundings, I am sure Sydney will infuse a whole new magic and meaning into Party Snake.
Party Snake attempts to reveal the delicate and vulnerable soul of an artist and invites the audience to witness the nightly metamorphosis of a drag queen. It unifies us in our differences and hopefully brings us closer to a world that celebrates our individual vibrance, our inner queens.
Party Snake plays at the Old 505, Newtown, September 17-21.