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Almost Face To Face at The Butterfly Club

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by Jeni Wilson (subscribe)
Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
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Risky and touching journey into a hidden Dublin world
Performance skills aside, it takes a lot to deliver such a heart-wrenching monologue. Performed to perfection, Stephen prides himself on his writing and so he should, yet he is chuffed that he was awarded for his acting. He chuckled a little when he told me about that.



It's hard to imagine anyone other than Stephen delivering this monologue so passionately. How could they? It's partially based on true life and as such conveying the pain is real and I imagine fairly taxing. When he described looking out of the window I felt giddy as if I was leaning out into the cold Irish boulevard as well. This is a story about sinking to the absolute pits and then further still.

The performance begins with Stephen sitting on a chair his back to the audience. I wonder if this is metaphoric for his attitude to life. His performance has no other props, just the occasional burst of music and lighting. It needs little else, as the performance itself is spellbinding with perfectly timed pauses and volume changes to highlight feelings and to convey the abyss of alcohol damage.

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cheap entertainment, Performing arts show, live show, live performance, Australian performer, theatre, live theatre, monologue,


Stephen explores emotions, empathy, feelings and depression rare to hear from males. He's not afraid to describe his appalling behaviour as he reminisces about his life and what he has become. Stephen describes how his life is like a bender that goes on and on when you can't imagine ever coming back from.

And sprinkled amongst all of this confusion is a sprinkling of humour. But there is no raucous laughter; just a sense of irony hangs in the room. Insightful –yes, emotional - yes but by no means a joyous show. His description is perhaps of an adventure no one wants to live. When he asks 'Does that make sense?' I heard an audience member reply 'Ahha'. I wonder if they know they said that out loud. Stephen, or the character, described his anger and struggles with the chaos that is a drug infested life. It was so real I felt dragged through the dirt and wish I had paid more attention to the lyrical monologue that he delivered.

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cheap entertainment, Performing arts show, live show, live performance, Australian performer, theatre, live theatre, monologue,


Is it ever too late to face up to what you have become? This is the question that Stephen House asks in his risky and heartfelt journey into a hidden Dublin world.

Acclaimed as an amazing one-man show and storyteller not to be missed (The Music) Stephen creates a theatre that will touch your heart and soul and leaves imagery swirling around long after the show finishes. Powerful as it is confronting, this show forces you to reflect on the fragility of life.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Stephen at the end of the show. There were many audience members who wanted to thank him and ask for his company. I heard a couple of women tell him that his monologue brought them to tears. Another said it was engrossing and yet another commented on his incredible storytelling.

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cheap entertainment, Performing arts show, live show, live performance, Australian performer, theatre, live theatre, monologue,


I asked him about the tale for it seemed likely to me that the passion and heartache, so evident in the performance, was because it was based on truth. He said that nearly all his work was semi-autobiographical. He's gutsy… he makes visible the truth of humanity that others often seek to hide. I so want to know which parts belonged to him!

If you get a chance, he is performing in Melbourne for a few more days (see Butterfly club listings,) Brisbane next and could be at a venue near you. Keep an eye out for him. This is a brilliant one-man show and story not to be missed.

Warning: Coarse language and adult themes.

A bit about Stephen House

He is a prolific and diligent writer, a performer and a bit of a nomad with an ethical bias. He's also a very amicable character who could keep you engaged and wondering for hours on end. Stephen is inspired by people who are struggling and still manage to do what they want to do. He admires people who take risks and jump outside the box we are meant to stay within. He also looks up to artists that stay true to what they want they say creatively, regardless of opinion, judgment, conservatism, or commercial success.

Click artsreview.com.au/on-the-couch-with-stephen-house/" id="ccblink" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">here for the full interview with Stephen House
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*Jeni Wilson was invited as a guest
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Why? Theatre to tug on your heart springs
When: Tues 8 May-Sat 12 May. Check the Butterfly Club website for times
Phone: 9663 8107
Where: Carson Pl, Melbourne
Cost: Members $27 Full price $34
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