A TALENTED LITTLE POOF
Wed, 20 July 2011Thirty-two-year-old actor, singer and writer Bruce J. Little is a veritable gay national treasure. His Little Little Poof 2 - The Fat, the Femme and the Fabulous is a showcase for his impress writing and performance talents. He transforms on-stage into various characters – from a gay vampire to a suburban lesbian – and sings a few songs to boot.
It’s fun, it’s a laugh and it's deeply moving. Meet the brains, brawns and genius behind the brilliant new show.
My coming out experience was... dramatic! I drafted my parents a very long e-mail and then, right at the end, I added: “…and by the way, I’m gay!” I was convinced they were going to disown me. I underestimated them. They have been incredibly loving and supportive ever since and the entire experience brought us closer together as a family.
The first time I kissed a man... I was eighteen and in the middle of studying for my matric finals. He was a friend of mine and we were sharing a bed. I woke up with his tongue in my mouth and decided I wasn’t going to be placid about my first ‘experience’, and kissed back, harder!
I came up with the concept of Little Poof after... I was blown away by all the people who came out to support [Joburg] Pride at Zoo Lake in 2009 (and the years subsequently), and I was determined to celebrate queer culture and how far we’ve come.
Most of the characters in Little Poof are based on... real people. Many of my friends know that I have taken liberty with some of their phrases and mannerisms. It amazes and delights, me that people are so flattered by seeing an aspect of themselves on stage and also able to have a good laugh at their own expense.
My favourite thing about being on stage is... that people actually listen to me! Often in life we don’t really listen to one another. Yet people do listen if they have paid to hear you say something in a funny way. I can get my agenda across and communicate what I feel about certain issues. It’s also an incredible adrenaline rush.
Being gay has allowed me to... appreciate men in rugby shorts in a whole new way. It’s forced me to question everything about who and what I am and this has allowed me to become a more considerate and individualistic person. I appreciate my uniqueness as a result of having to fight for it.
My first true love was someone... who helped me to create music There is something very special about writing a song with someone else from scratch and then performing it to an appreciative audience together.
My favourite place to eat out is... Pico Bella on 4th in Melville for pasta, pizza and chinwagging with my closest friends or Le Canard on Rivonia in Sandton if I’m feeling posh. I would sell my “proverbials” for their duck. Yum!
Life as an actor is... very up and down and dualistic. Today you’re in the paper, tomorrow a homeless person is using it as loo paper. It’s necessary to stay grounded and not get caught up in hype and superficiality. One person will tell you you’re fabulous and at the same time another will be slating you.
"I have survived ten years as a freelance actor because I embraced who I was and was never afraid to take the 'gay' role..."
If I wasn't an actor or singer I'd be... an assistant in a health shop. I know a ridiculous amount of information about which herbal supplement you should take for any and all ailments.
The biggest challenge in finding a romantic partner is... that my career can sometimes be very demanding of me and I spend quite a bit of time away, touring shows in other cities, which can be problematic. I’m incredibly independent but also very sensitive which doesn’t make it any easier. And most of the Springbok rugby players that I want to date seem to be playing hard to get.
I am scared of... snakes and sharks. They freak me out. Growing up on a farm there was a constant threat of snakes which made me paranoid, and as for sharks, I mean the finned predators of the deep and not the Natal squad. The Natal squad should be scared of me!
Heartbreak is something that I... have experienced quite intensely a handful of times in my life, and quite recently I might add. But heartbreak makes you a better artist in so many ways so it is a blessing in retrospect.
I drive around in... a Silver Bantam bakkie named Sylvester. He may as well be called: “The Poofmobile.” He has carried the show to and from many a gig across the country.
Fame is something... that can be useful but at times, also intrusive. It helps you to market yourself and your product and recognition is always wonderful, but some individuals think nothing of swamping you and groping your genitals, because they saw you in a gay role on television. I kid you not!
I like spending my money on... new and second-hand books that pile up beside my bed. I also buy a lot of green tea and have been known to spend a lot of money on psychics and tarot readings.
I decided to be an openly-gay actor because... I was drawn to acting and performing in the first place because it allowed me to find ways to speak my truth. When my career had just begun there was a lot of pressure to get “straight” roles and be able to play the “guy next door”. I have survived ten years as a freelance actor because I embraced who I was and was never afraid to take the “gay” role. I still get cast as straight characters, from time to time, so I have not marginalised or typecast myself.
People assume that because I am an actor... that I am acting all the time, which would be exhausting! Or that I should be funny and entertaining at all times. I wish this was the case. Unfortunately I can be quite boring and unremarkable, especially in the morning before my tea.
Corrective Rape is something... that, like most violence, is a product of ignorance and frustration. Creating awareness and education are the tools to combat ignorance. We need to talk about it, write about it and sing about it so that we can eventually bring a stop to it.
My favourite thing to do on the weekend is... going out dancing with my housemate on a Friday night and bumping into friends, old and new. Nothing like a good “gatswaai”, to work out the frustrations of the week, and flirting with a stranger under a discoball.
I enjoy being around other gay people... because there is this magical tension in the air that indicates to me that at any given moment, somebody, may say or do something fabulous or outrageous.
The one thing few people know about me is...that I played rugby at school. When I was in boarding school in Grahamstown, I dislocated my hip in an inter-house rugby match when I was sixteen. I played “hooker” position.
I love it when a guy... wears rugby shorts. I cannot say this enough.
Little Poof 2 - The Fat, the Femme and the Fabulous is on at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein until the 30th of July. Go see it! Book tickets at joburgtheatre.com.