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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | November 18, 2019

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Steen Raskopoulos's Stay

Steen Raskopoulos’s Stay
Paige Duffy

Raskopoulos balances light and dark in his one-man show Stay, guiding the audience through a layered performance of various characters, memories, and interactions.

Steen Raskopoulos performs his one-man show Stay, a comedic interweave of stand-up and solo theatre, as part of the Brisbane Festival 2018. For the festival, QUT’s Kelvin Grove’s Creative Industries Precinct has been transformed into Theatre Republic, a courtyard sensation, complete with installations, walls of stained-glass windows, food and drink, live music, and an impressive collection of shows. Stay is performed in Theatre Republic’s The Block, an intimate setting for Raskopoulos’s intimate yet comedic retelling of May 26, 2017.

Opening with an engaging dance number, Raskopoulos immediately draws the audience into his work, opening the solo-piece with laughter, music, and a reminder to the audience to have some fun, settle-in, and enjoy the night. Stay is set as an interrogation, a self-interrogation where Raskopoulos performs both interrogator and interrogatee. Throughout the show, the interrogation is punctuated with vignettes, relating the memories of various characters—prison inmates, a spelling-bee host with abandonment issues, a vampire with a dream, and many more. Raskopoulos transitions through each character and moment, masterfully connecting each character with an overarching narrative.

Raskopoulos’s show has moments both light and dark. The work is an honest admission to an event that occurred in Raskopoulos’s life on May 26, 2017. As with many memories, there are both light and dark elements involved. And Raskopoulos does not hesitate to share them all, which makes the show both funny and touching. Unfortunately, there are moments the show is brought down by crude props and actions or cocky lines. While these moments get a chuckle from some of the audience, I  don’t find them necessary to the performance. The level of honesty in retelling the good and bad moments that relate to this memory, and the way Raskopoulos returns with his characters and vignettes, is truly something interesting to watch and impressive to witness as they all combine to come full circle. The crude and cocky moments only add cheap laughs to a show already funny without them.

Stay is worth a visit to Theatre Republic’s fun and vibrant venue. Go early, grab some tapas and a drink, listen to some music, and relax before heading into Stay. Raskopoulos has a work that, with a little fine tuning, shares what it’s like to live with a mental health issue and how even the simplest of conversations can save a life.

The Details 

What: Stay

Where: Theatre Republic — The Block, QUT Creative Industries

When: Tuesday 18 September – Saturday 22 September

Price: $24 – $32

Bookings: https://www.brisbanefestival.com.au/whats-on/stay

Images provided by Brisbane Festival 2018