Soft Butch Show Queen at The Butterfly Club
Mark J Wilson's new show 'Soft Butch Show Queen' premieres at The Butterfly Club in January and this week Rosie spoke with Mark about the one-man show, putting it altogether and the importance of this particular story both to Mark and audiences at large. Have a read below:
You’ve worked in so many facets of the arts industry, from acting and devising to directing and producing. Can you tell me a little bit about your career and how it has led you to Soft Butch Show Queen?
I started acting on TV in 1987. I’d describe my career in the arts like a marathon, at times there’s been people cheering along from the sidelines and other times it’s like running in the wilderness. I ventured into producing In 2016 – then I was trying to innovate highbrow performance art. I kept asking people I respected for feedback on my work, and that’s how I ended up making this show. Soft Butch is me wanting to entertain people and put my best foot forward.
20 characters is quite a feat for a single actor! What’s your process like approaching so many characters in one show?
It’s crazy, just absolute madness. I’ve just been working with dramaturg and director Maude Davies. We re-drafted the show four times in six weeks. The process is going, ok, I’ve taken a bite out of the elephants leg, now I’ve got to chew. Slowly. It’s really starting to string together now.
How challenging has it been to create 20 unique stories on stage?
The challenge has been workshopping my personal narrative of having cancer and trying to make that funny. The 20 different characters is the easy part. The hard bit has been workshopping the personal stuff because I’ve always been like, that happened in the past, I always wanted to look forward, not backwards.
Soft Butch Show Queen seems to have so many words to describe itself, from ‘Krispy Kreme’ to ‘blow-up doll seduction’. If you could only describe this show in three words, which words would you choose?
Time to triumph
What place does Soft Butch Show Queen have in representing LGBT+ on stage?
I’m not sure. You’d need to ask the gay mafia, they don’t get me. Ask them, they might say that I’ve got no right representing my own story. Being a gay man is so ubiquitous these days, almost mainstream. There’s no way I could’ve made this show ten years ago. So it’s a testament to the progress of the gay rights movement that I can make this show about my lived experience of being queer. The show draws lots of musical references from 1993. Being a gay man then carried a lot of angst – that’s what I represent.
How do you think audiences will relate to this work?
My sincerest hope is that people get it. I’ve seriously consulted some killer people who’re at the top of their game to get this show right. I’m sharing all this personal stuff, that’s from the heart, with the intention of making people laugh and leaving on a high.
Why should audiences see Soft Butch Show Queen?
I’m an independent producer, there’s no magic wand to build an audience, it takes time. I’d love people to see this show, because its good, its produced outside of the mainstream and amazing people have helped to craft this rockin hour of Australian theatre. It’s gunna be amazing.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Idol – by Sidetrack (changed my life)
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Tokyo – I need new kicks
Dream show to perform?
Tori Amos tribute show
Plays or musicals?
What’s next for you after this show?
Adelaide Fringe. The cards for the future read Soft Butch Show Queen.