Chet Wilson talks about bringing queer representation and body positivity to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Chet C Wilson
Name of Edinburgh show: Gayface
Venue: TheSpace on North Bridge- Perth Theatre
Performance time: 16:05
Show length: 50 minutes
Ticket price: £10/ £8 concession

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I made my stage debut in 1987, as a child, and have continued on the stage ever since. Though acting has been my main focus all these years, I have interest in all aspects of theatre production, and Gayface is my first piece that I have written.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Gayface is a comedy about queer representation and body positivity in theatre. It’s about the struggles of being a performer and the compromises we will and won’t make in the pursuit of our art. It’s fast-paced and silly and bold.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I began writing Gayface in November of 2017. I have a great team and we have been workshopping it since January. The show is the combined effort of many great minds and it has something I think everyone will be able to relate to.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
I have only been as a visitor for six days last year, so my experience is limited, but be flexible with your show choices, plan periods just to see the city and chat with the other participants and wear sensible shoes.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
About fifteen years ago, I learned a very important lesson while playing Guy in David Rabe’s “In the Boom Boom Room”. I had to wear a Playboy Bunny costume onstage and one night I took it home to clean and forgot to bring it with me the next day. Without enough time to go home and get it, my fellow actors and I fashioned a substitute costume out of fabric scraps and safety pins. Let’s just say I showed a lot more skin than intended and it was almost completely off by the end of the scene. I guess that prepared me for appearing naked in my current show, Gayface.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
There are so many artists I admire, from Margo Martindale to Michael Cristofer to Billy Crudup to Stephen Sondheim. I have to say that Harvey Fierstein has been an inspiration for being himself, and brilliant, throughout it all.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I do not have anything specific that I will do before each show. I still get nasty stage fright and usually feel like I’m going to throw up, but that goes the second the stage lights hit me.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’m excited to see so many acts- Gypsy Queen, Bottom, Kids Play, Trans Pennine, Dip, Dogfight, Filth, Myra DuBois- I could go on and on.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
People should come to our show to see a point of view that is rarely presented onstage. Our show is for theatre lovers. It’s for people who are open to the possibility that theatre has the capability to transform us. And it’s really funny.


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