Fresh from a successful stint as vestry minute-keeper Frank Pickle in Amdram's The Vicar of Dibley, Mike Street is ready to take on one of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues, A Chip in the Sugar.
It's a Speakers for the Sarjeant event, supporting the gallery's redevelopment project, and will be performed at the gallery on Sunday, July 7.
A Chip in the Sugar is something Mike has performed before in various venues, the proceeds from which he has always sent to World Vision. This one is for the Sarjeant, of which he and wife Joan are "Star Members".
Alan Bennett wrote two series of Talking Heads, with six dramatic monologues in each, with all but two presented by women actors. A Chip in the Sugar and Playing Sandwiches are the only two written for men to perform.
"We did them at Four Seasons [Theatre] the first time in the 1980s. David Smiles was trying to cast for a Shakespearean play but found he was unable."
Talking Heads was performed instead by Mike and Joan Street, Anne McGrath and Kate Paris. We ran for 13 sessions." Mike has performed A Chip in the Sugar in public and private, and in some odd places, at various times in the years since. He even uses it to pass the time when he's out jogging.
Mike finds he has things in common with Alan Bennett.
"We've both Yorkshire lads: He lived in Leeds and I was born in Leeds, even though I moved out within just a few months. We're about the same age, I think he's a couple of years older. We were both first members of the family to go to university, although he went to Oxford and I was at Durham, so there are links there. But it's just such humour.
"He's a great writer ... and the pathos!"
Mike says A Chip in the Sugar is the character talking about his mother.
"As simple as that."
The monologue takes about 40 minutes to recite.
Bennett's play shines a light onto an ordinary life interrupted by an unexpected crisis.
Sunday 7 July, 4.30pm at Sarjeant on the Quay
Tickets $12, Gallery Friends and Stars $10. Buy from Sarjeant on the Quay or by phoning 349 0506