Ben Noble’s one man play, Member, is a confronting piece of theatre. It is based on the bashing or murder of over one hundred gay men in Sydney during the 1980’s and 90’s; crimes for which no one has ever been held responsible.
It was blood sport committed by gangs of male youths. When Noble read about one gang member being 12-years-old it started him thinking:
“What would his life be like now and what if his son comes out gay, how does he deal with that?” He wanted to explore the idea creatively.
“I commissioned 10 writers to write a response to source material – they had pictures, some articles – and I said ‘I want you to write a monologue or scene that’s going to be played by one person’.”
He then collected the ideas into a basic scenario with 16 characters contributing to the narrative from their own perspectives. The premise is a father who shares his shameful past at the hospital bedside of his gay son who has been viciously bashed.
With very minimal production elements, Noble must convey transition of time and place as well as assume 16 different personalities while telling a cohesive story. He achieves this through subtle lighting shifts, and variations in his own physicality, voice and position on stage.
Some dramatic licence has been taken, but most of the details are based on fact.
“A lot of the lines in our show were actually spoken by the real people…” said Noble.
The title is a play on meaning: a person belonging to a particular group or gang; colloquial term for “penis”; contraction of “remember”. And remember is what Noble hopes people will do. (RB)
Feb 21–Mar 4, Tues-Sat 7.30pm + 2pm Saturdays. Blood Moon Theatre at The World Bar, 24 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross. $20-$29. Tickets & info: www.eventbrite.com.au