I Still Call Australia Homo
In & Out @ Tuxedo Cat – Perske Pavilion
8:30pm, Mon 23 Feb 2015
Inspired by real-life accounts of homosexual discrimination from all around the world, I Still Call Australia Homo creates a dystopian Australia, where homosexuality has been outlawed & gay-bashing is commonplace. But this dystopia is placed in an eerily idyllic setting: two clean neighbouring houses, manicured gardens, The Great Australian Dream. Two perfect colour-coded couples, Orangey-Red and Aqua-Green.
The Red couple are new to the neighbourhood, and the Greens welcome them with open arms – dinner parties, BBQs, tea and yoga for the women, beer and house maintenance for the men. Early on, there’s a lot of friendly banter and innuendo being flung around… but there’s also openly homophobic remarks, and references to the persecution of homosexuals. The two men eventually develop a relationship, which tears both couples apart… and then the accusations fly thick and fast: just why did the Reds move here, anyway?
For the most part, I Still Call Australia Homo is a relatively conventional production, with a sincere message that is sugar-coated with plenty of humour. Innuendo litters the first half of the show, and the Green Woman stands as a comedic contrast to the rest of the characters. But there’s some really great bits of direction in there, too: the scenes where the characters investigate different dialogue choices triggered by hammering and perfectly synchronised turns of the head are superb.
It’s only long after the show is over that I recognised – and mused upon – one of the more biting aspects of the script: Red Woman is shocked early on by the homophobic jokes of Green Woman, and Green subsequently assumes that Red is a lesbian, though that’s never confirmed by the script. That layer of guilty-by-association is pretty nasty, and perhaps the most sneakily insidious part of this world. And whilst I wasn’t completely sold on I Still Call Australia Homo at the time, it’s nice that it gave me something to think about after-the-fact.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 23, 2015