The Ajoona Guest House by Stephen House

Award-winning playwright poet and actor, Stephen House hits Melbourne on August 9th for the preview of a two-week season of his hit show, ‘The Ajoona Guest House’. House says he was delighted to be offered a spot in La Mama Theatre’s winter program following the 9 shows sell-out in Adelaide in December, then a few well received shows in Darwin Fringe’s curated hub program recently.

Directed by acclaimed SA director, Rosalba Clemente (past head of State Theatre Company South Australia), The Ajoona got a five-star review in The Advertiser and rave reviews on every theatre site in South Australia and further.

House says, “Audiences are fascinated by the world I take them into. It leaps into a dangerous, yet also beautiful hidden corner of New Delhi; a world most people don’t know exists’. He adds, ‘The process of working with Rosalba was amazing. We were so thorough in making this piece and created something we are very proud of. Alain Valodze came on board and made incredible Indian influenced sound for the one-hour, one-man play, which adds enormously”.

House, an Awgie Award winning playwright, and Greenroom nominated actor, has put out around 20 plays over a few decades. He wrote The Ajoona Guest House in India on an Asialink Literature Residency.

the ajoona guest house by stephen house

“The residency came at a time I was travelling around and writing other work in world cities. It’s the third monologue in a trilogy of stand-alone plays, my ten-year project of travel and creating, my two great loves.

The preceding two, ‘Appalling Behaviour’ (Paris) and ‘Almost Face to Face’ (Dublin) played nationally to wonderful responses, and at La Mama during their journeys, so it is terrific to now put the New Delhi play out, and extra special that I’m coming back to La Mama, a company that means a great deal to me, and where I have worked many times.” 

Stephen House’s work is often regarded as risky, dangerous, and confronting, so it is interesting to also see that the reviews for The Ajoona are saying ‘Deeply evocative… a theatrical gem’, ‘a masterclass in getting it right’, ‘House succeeds with his fascinating narrative’, and it goes on and on! (Google it to see).

House is excited that In Case of Emergency Press in Melbourne have published the script into a chapbook edition.

“To now see the work in print is fantastic. ICOE also published my first poetry collection, real and unreal in 2018, and now are putting my next poetry collection together. But don’t get me started about my poetry! Right now, I’m firmly locked into the world and words of a guest house, that is based on a true place and has characters in it that come from many years of living in and out of guest houses in India – as I have done.”  

There is no doubt Stephen House is passionate about his work and travel.

“It is wonderful to make and perform a new work that people go fully with and want to talk about after the show. I love talking to audiences after, and I love doing what I do for a job.”


The Ajoona Guest House

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