ReadingRoom

BookBubble podcast: Victor Rodger

Nicky Pellegrino and Stacy Gregg continue their podcast series of interviews with popular New Zealand authors. Today: playwright Victor Rodger

Victor Rodger’s darkly provocative play Black Faggot brought him accolades at the Edinburgh Festival. A former Shortland Street hunk, and one of our most celebrated and prolific writers for theatre, he’s held writers residencies in Otago, Wellington and Hawaii, but lockdown found him in the one place he swore he’d never live again – his hometown of Christchurch. When he spoke with Stacy Gregg he was back at level one and in Wellington where he’d been attending the Black Lives Matter marches, working on a new play for Toi Whakarii and musing on what issues should take precedence for him as a writer right now.

An extract from Victor Rodger’s play - Black Faggot:

MIRANDA MALO (a fa’afafine artist):

and gentlemen, minister, esteemed colleagues: Warm Pacific Greetings. And when I say warm, I mean warm. Especially to that fine brother in the back row. Mmmmhmmmm, yes, brother, you. No, not you. Hell, no. The one next you in the mustard. Yeah, you. (WINKS). Most of you will already know me but for those of you who do not, please allow me to introduce my own self: My name is Miranda Malo and I am a multiple award winning fa’afafine – recognized third sex – artist, originally from Samoa, internationally recognized for my provocative works such as Ass You Like It and Me, Myself, My Muli. The first work I’d like to discuss tonight is Undercover Brother –a sculpture which explores the concept of the Polynesian brother who is on the down low. A man who sometimes has sex with other men but keeps it secret from everyone. His family. His church. His friends. Even, sometimes, his own wife or girlfriend. If accused of engaging in any gay behavior, the Undercover Brother will vigorously deny it. I give you: the Undercover Brother.

CHRISTIAN (a young closeted Christian who is clearly very gay):

God. How are you? It’s Christian here. But you already know that right? Since you know everything. Actually since you know everything then you know what I’m going to say, right? So does that mean I still have to say it, even though you already know it? (BEAT) The thing is: I think I’m gay God. Actually I don’t think I am. I know I am. I think I’ve known ever since I was a kid. Sorry about that, God. I know you’re not into gays and stuff. But guess what? Neither am I. I don’t want to be like this. I want to be like everyone else. The way you want me to be. Anyway, my cousin Letitia, she said you can pray the gay away so what I was wondering Lord, was: can you please make me not gay anymore? Please? I’m sick of people calling me a black faggot. And I don’t want to go to hell. And cos you know everything you know the way my dad looks at me, eh God? Like he wishes I wasn’t his son. Maybe, when I’m not gay anymore, he won’t give me that look anymore, eh. God? That’d be wicked. Anyway thanks for listening, God. See you soon.

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