Left - Stephen House in Appalling Behaviour
Stephen House didn't just hold my attention for almost 90 minutes, I was riveted. His portrayal of a Paris street dweller was so honest and vulnerable that it was almost child-like in parts. In the self written play Appalling Behaviour, his character journeys through daily existence by integrating with other Parisian urchins and making ends meet by selling his block of blonde (hash).
Although this is a one man show, there are plenty of other characters in the play and they are vividly depicted by House’s references. The “Rat Boys” who dance on the corner, Caroline the prostitute dubbed “Princess of Paris” who saves him from a certain bashing, and Romano, his admirer, lover, partner in crime and eventual downfall. His conversations and interactions with these characters and more were only slightly abstract. They grew and developed along with him.
In much the same way, a few black blocks strategically placed became the scenery as House’s character moved through the world. Assisted by sound effects and lighting changes, these basic set pieces showed the progression of place and time.
In a note from the Director, Justin McGuiness states “the text reads more like a 25 page “beat poem” than a standard play”. It’s true that the language is rhythmic and poetic, while at the same time being grounded in reality and accessible to the audience.
McGuiness goes on to say: “Stephen amazes me. He possesses the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager and yet maintains the work ethic of a dedicated professional”. I would have to agree that the sheer energy House imbued his characters with was remarkable.
House is based in South Australia making this performance at the Blue Room his WA Premiere. The intimate space is absolutely fitting for this edgy and “in your face” production.
Professional Collective Theatre Company presents
Written and performed by Stephen House
Directed by Justin McGuiness
Venue: The Blue Room Studio | 53 James Street, Northbridge WA
Dates: 22 March to 9 April 2011
Time: Tues - Sat @ 8:30pm
Meet the Artists: Wed 30 Mar
Tickets: Full $25 | Conc. $20