Written and performed by Thomas Kostakis
Holden Street Theatres, Adelaide Fringe, Australia
Director and Dramaturge: Alex Howarth
Producer: Thomas Kostakis
Lighting Design: Rachel Sampley
Sound Design: Alex Howarth
"Welcome to the 'DOs and DON’Ts of Doing It', the reality game show where we follow one lucky contestant as he tries to develop a healthier relationship with sex. Come on down!"
Based on real-life events and playwright Thomas' own experiences with sexual dysfunction, the play blends the frivolity and playfulness of a game show with important conversations about sexual expectations, and the importance of communication in a sexually disharmonious relationship. Doing It returns to Adelaide Fringe after an acclaimed, sold out season in 2021.
Thomas Kostakis is a physiotherapist working in Men's and Women's Sexual and Pelvic Health, and aims to raise awareness of pelvic floor dysfunctions.
★★★★.5 - "A definite 'do', not 'don't'!" - The Advertiser
★★★★★ - Theatre Travels
★★★★.5 "... a raw and emotional tale about love, loss, and betrayal ... led me to tears." - SeeDoEat Reviews
Alex is delighted to be revisiting his third production at Adelaide Fringe, following two seasons of We Live By the Sea (Best Theatre, Critic's Choice and Peace Foundation Awards) and Cassie and the Lights (Best Theatre).
Walking into this show I was, to be honest, incredibly sceptical. Not because this was actor/creator Thomas Kostakis’s first foray into this field, but because so many stories of the LGBT community are not told by us and end up being diluted for the audience(s) they so desperately seek validation from. This is different. Kostakis is one of “us” and speaks unashamedly about the things that so many of “us” don’t talk about for a myriad of reasons; shame, fear and loss of love are but a few.
The first part of the play was set in a game show type setting with Kostakis as the unlucky in love contestant in search of Mr. Right. Weaving in and out of sexual innuendos and an array of male suitors, all of whom were played by Daniel Pitt, Kostakis had no fear playing to the audience and showcasing a vulnerability that could almost come across as self depreciating at times. Pitt played into Kostakis’s uncertainty as he navigated the gay dating scene, playing four main characters, but a whopping 28 characters overall.
It was the second part of the play that really changed the narrative of this play. The camp over exaggeration at the beginning was fun and lighthearted, but at the core of this was a serious issue and one that affects not just gay men, but men at large; pelvic floor dysfunction. Couple this with a yearning for a long term partner, something that can seem so unfathomable when entering the gay community for the first time, and for any gay man that has passed through any of these situations, it is a story that so many of us have sadly been apart of.
What makes this play even more heartfelt is that it is based on Kostakis’s own real life events. Navigating a community that can at times be harsh and unforgiving and for no reason other than that of survival, it is inevitable that questions of belonging and what you will do to be accepted are at the forefront of your existence. Kostakis not only covers these topics, he questions them as he has lived them. The last 30 minutes of the play were its most powerful moments. Grappling with internalised homophobia, consent and that feeling of not being good enough - in any capacity, were all things that so many of us have asked ourselves, but never had the ability to say out loud. Kostakis did.
Theatre is something that has been severely lacking from the collective conscious for what seems like an eternity. The ability to walk into a room and sit in front of people acting out stories, true or fictional, in the most intimate of settings is not only vulnerability at its rawest, but pure artistry in the most primary of forms when done right. Whilst “doing it right” is entirely subjective, Kostakis did this right and then some.
It’s hard to believe that this was Kostakis first foray into Theatre, something that I truly hope he dives into much, much more.
It takes a lot of courage to bare your soul on a page and then performs it in front of an audience. Braver still to talk about a personal story that is sexual in nature and to do with sexual inadequacy and not a strength. But that is just what Thomas Kostakis has done in his very first writing and acting performance.
Quite honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the gorgeous Bakehouse Theatre to watch this performance. As it’s Thomas’s first time writing a show and acting, I thought it could either turn out like a cringe-worthy Grade 6 play or an enjoyable silly, little sex story with a few funny moments. What I didn’t expect was a raw and emotional tale about love, loss, and betrayal that was so full of heart and emotion that it nearly led me to tears.
With Alex Howarth (Cassie and the Lights, We Live by the Sea) directing this semi-autobiographical story, we enter Thomas’s world in the form of a game show and see his life through a series of games and quiz questions. Sometimes he chooses the right answers and sometimes the wrong ones, as he goes along trying to find the right partner to complete his life. It’s a fun and frolicking start but by the end turns dark as we find out Thomas suffers from a pelvic floor disorder which hampers his enjoyment of sex. Thomas is ably supported in this two-man cast by Dan Pitt who provides a wonderful performance as Thomas’s many sexual partners and also his game-show assistant.
What I loved most about the show is that the actors were so well rehearsed that there was hardly a fault throughout the entire show. Loud laughter did put the actors off a couple of times, but I find that endearing and not a fault, and throughout it all Thomas and Scott were well on top of their game (pun intended). I’m pretty sure, judging by the loud applause at the end, that the entire audience not only appreciated what they just had watched but applauded Thomas for baring his soul to a bunch of strangers he did not know!