I was looking for love and then I found love, but heaven knows I’m miserable now.
Fly on the Wall Theatre’s acclaimed play, Half a Person: My Life as Told by the Smiths is due to make a 10 performances only return. Writer Alex Broun (The Jacaranda Tree) and director Robert Chuter (Anne of Green Gables, Homme Fatale, The Death of Peter Pan, The Hive), brought together by their mutual love of the Smiths twenty years ago, team up again to pay homage to ’80s idol Steven Patrick Morrissey.
The play tells the story of William who is too smart for his long black drinking, tight jeans wearing, quiff hairstyle sporting, ‘The Smiths’ worshipping good. He only exists to devour coffee, despise ’people’ and worship the patron saint of wrist-slashing – Steven Patrick Morrissey.
Just like his Idol the world he occupies is cruelly lonely. He stumbles from café to cemetery in search of a companion or maybe just a confidant. He runs headlong into Salome; the obtuse, obstructive, agent of seduction that slithers her way into his addictive personality where she infatuates herself remorselessly.
Meanwhile, the best friend that he never knew he might not have one day, Rick, is struggling with his own desire for William and his dwindling mortality. William is confined in a terrible triangle; the girl of his dreams treats him like dirt, his best friend is in love with him and on top of this, the Smiths have broken up.
The play is a one-man show featuring Mark Taylor (Rent, The Underwood, Away, The Crucible, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.) who plays the main character as well as an ensemble of characters that surround him.
"I play William, my best friend Rick, my ice queen / sex queen girlfriend, Salome, a seedy record shop owner, an Indian cab driver," says Taylor in his recent interview with Beat Magazine. "In total, I play about 12 different roles within the play, but William is definitely my favourite; he is an extension of me. It’s definitely a love-hate relationship, William needs a good kick up the arse, I need a good kick up the arse!"
The show features more than 12 Morrissey / Smiths songs which also set their own challenges for the actor. "It’s not me as an actor imitating Morrissey" says Taylor "but rather William trying to be him, having the quiff hairdo, crooning in front of his mirror in his skinny black jeans. We definitely go into the melancholy and bittersweet moments of the Smiths’ music, but there are a few songs that get me dancing, Morrissey style of course."
The show’s return is marked by its popularity. "We had so many people come to the theatre who just don’t come to the theatre, they were the best," says Taylor. "We also had people coming two or three times, they were the big Smiths fans and they’ll probably come again. But whether you love or hate the Smiths, there is something in this show that attracts people."
The show has been described as a beautifully dark, blackly funny and painfully touching play set to the music of The Smiths, the music that gives William a chance to be more than just, ‘Half A Person.’
Venue: Loft Theatre, Chapel Off Chapel
Season: August 2010