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DICKLESS Getting into the swing of things

Following a sold-out debut 2021 season, Justin Sider is Dickless is back for Fringe World 2022! In a one-man, one-hour, musical featuring live dance, singing, rapping and story-telling, Justin Sider pelvic thrusts his way through the fourth wall and takes the audience on a journey of self-discovery, and dick recovery. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Justin Sider to find out how the show explores themes of queer, trans, and male identity, and rips apart gender stereotypes in the process. 

Congrats on bringing your show Dickless to Fringe 2022! How long has this show been in the works for and how does it feel to be getting back on stage?

Thank you so much! It feels so great to get the chance to bring this show back to the stage. I first wrote the show back at the end of 2020, it just kind of poured out of me over a few days which was very surprising! Originally it was going to be a jukebox musical with a bunch of pop songs, but I ended up collaborating with Kruger James who gave me a bunch of original beats and it was so fun to get to add my own lyrics to the story. It debuted at Fringe 2021, came back for an encore at Connections, and now it’s back for its second Fringe run. Very exciting!

It’s not the first time you have drawn a crowd though, where else might our readers have seen you performing before?

Wherever there are good vibes! You may have seen me pelvic thrusting at Snatch Perth, The Court, Connections, Cherry Bomb, Albany Pride, Bunbury Fringe. I love being involved in queer events! Dickless is unique however cause I get to be on stage for longer than one song and tell a wonderfully silly story.

One’s gender identity is often a personal journey, but it’s clear you felt it was a story you wanted to share with the world. What were the reasons for that?

Trans and non-binary identities are really underrepresented in the media, especially positive representations, so I wanted to share a different perspective of one experience of transness. Justin Sider is dickless because I myself am on stage as a ‘dickless man,’ but that doesn’t make me any less masculine, manly, or valid. Discussion around trans bodies can often be so serious, weighted, invasive, and misinformed. I wanted to tell a story that was funny, silly, sexy, and goofy. The show was overwhelmingly written for my trans community, to make them laugh at the more absurd elements of gender.

Awareness and acceptance of diversity does seem to be increasing in society, but do you still feel there are stereotypes and misconceptions that need to be tackled? And do you feel humour can be an effective way to achieve that?

Absolutely! I think humour allows people to exhale a little. To feel more comfortable with the unusual, or the different, to ask questions. While I want to be clear that I don’t speak for all trans people, in my experience people often expect trans people to fulfill a certain ideal of gender – to be ‘all feminine’ or ‘all masculine’ – but gender is a spectrum. There are nuances. And it doesn’t matter what’s in a person’s pants.

A person’s gender is whatever they want it to be. I also feel like drag itself is often seen as just for drag queens or just for cis gay men. But drag is so much more than that! It’s also a spectrum and it has a big beautiful thriving community of diverse people.

And were there any particular people, either personally or in a performing sense, that inspired you to do this show?

I was super inspired by Cam Venn’s show Charles Horse Lays an Egg. It’s a completely absurd one man show about astronaut Charles Horse saving the world from a giant chicken, with the climax of the show being Charles Horse laying an egg. Yes, an actual egg live on stage. I just loved the way he managed to take the audience on this ridiculously silly journey, most of the show he’s buck naked, with a suitcase full of dodgy props and the audience was completely enthralled!

He made everyone feel so safe, the audience participation was so joyful and seamless, and he did it all by himself! I wanted to try something like that and was very grateful to have his guidance with writing some of the script. And of course I was super inspired to write the show to represent the underrepresented drag king/trans masculine community.

Other than having a great time, what else would you like audiences to take away from this show?

I just want the audience to have fun! I want them to get some of the songs stuck in their head. I want them to laugh. I want them to feel like they learned something. I want them to feel like they got their money’s worth! I hope that they feel inspired by the message that the show sends in some way. Whether that be to learn more about gender and trans people, or about drag kings. But most of all I want the show to make an impact so that it’s that one show they saw at Fringe 2022 that they’ll always remember.

And how about you, what are you looking forward to the most?

I’m really looking forward to putting on amazing show with my amazing team featuring Jessie Appleyard and Tegan Sorenson! Couldn’t do it without them. I’m also looking forward to performing in BurLEZque the following week. And I’m excited to see some shows starring my friends like Would You Like Thighs With That?, Fringe Freakout, BIPOCity. As well as some new shows! Like Bridezilla the Musical, Always Woods Always Will Be, Tunes on the Terrace. See you there!

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