"It's a very romantic, furious, goofy play, and it took the support of my wonderful pals to get me strong enough to fInish it." We chat with 5 STARS writer and performer Jake Stewart about turning a lived experienced into a show and the role theatre plays in today's queer community.
Q: What did you most enjoy about writing 5 STARS?
A: Omigod this process has been so bonkers. The original play began – as so many do – as a method of coping with being alive. And there's, of course, a sacred delightfulness in the torment of writing a play, but writing this play only became properly enjoyable when I started to share it with people. All the most enjoyable parts of writing the original version of '5 STARS' were to do with the people around me. It's a very romantic, furious, goofy play, and it took the support of my wonderful pals to get me strong enough to finish it.
Q: Can you take us through the process of adapting a personal lived experience into a stage play?
A: Mate, I literally don't even know if I'd recommend it. This adaptation of '5 STARS' places pieces of the original text inside the real world of its creation and inspiration. My relationship with Joel Beasley greatly informed the nature of the original piece, and he's therefore the perfect guy to be in the show with me, telling this wildly personal story of ours.
The process has been a lot of holding the text up against our lives, and then staring at each other for a while.
If ya come to the show, which I super hope you do, I think you'll get a pretty thorough idea of how complicated it's been to turn the truth into honest art.
Q: What's it like performing alongside your real-life partner Joel Beasley?
A: We're actually not together, despite what the paparazzi say. Joel's a remarkable, courageous, perplexing, hypertalented person, and I can't wait to be on stage next to him while an audience realises those things about him. They're all very lucky and I'm very lucky.
Q: What does the representation of queer stories in independent theatre mean to you?
A: Queer stories are inherently stories of the socially unconventional, so in-between moments of the mainstage theatres capitalising on our tales being remarkable, the Independent Stage is the glorious necessary home for these stories and these voices. Queer people need to tell our stories to each other. We need to make theatre to help each other heal, to guide, to educate, to comfort, to celebrate, to validate, to be the voice of the companions you're waiting to find. For me, Theatre has always felt like the campfire at the centre of the Queer Community.
Q: Can you summarise 5 STARS in five words?
A: Clumsy gays performing open-heart surgery. 5 STARS by Jake Stewart 14-25 June BOOK TICKETS