Author watches own stage play

From left, are theatre owner Liz Ellenbogen, actor David Muller, author Bruce Clark and Mr Clarks wife Christine.

The final performance at the Rosebank Theatre of David Muller’s adaptation of the book Love Sex Fleas God: Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Dad was marked by the appearance of a very special guest: none other than the book’s author Bruce Clark.

Although Mr Clark and wife Christine had met with Mr Muller to discuss the adaptation, he had not seen the one-man show until the performance last Friday, September 9, for which the couple had flown down especially from Johannesburg.

As luck would have it, the final show of the Rosebank Theatre run drew one of the largest audiences.

The book is a humorous although at times equally harrowing account of Mr Clark’s journey from a nightmare childhood which saw him abandoned by his mother as she relentlessly pursued interests in Scientology, to becoming a stay-at-home father in later life.

During his tumultuous formative years, Mr Clark was forced to change schools no fewer than 17 times before he hit rock bottom and he was forced to confront his demons.

Speaking to the Tatler at the end of the show, Mr Clark said he was deeply moved by the play.

“Some of those phrases that were used occurred to me while I was out running, and hearing them on stage was very surreal,” Mr Clark said. “I thought David did an excellent job.”

He said one day he had received an email “out of the blue” in which Mr Muller explained his intentions to stage the book.

“We came down and met him in Hermanus, where he showed me the script.

“I thought it was brilliant how he had managed to capture all that had happened into 45 minutes.

“As we saw in the play, my childhood was insane. I think for me the turnaround came when I ended up on the floor of a police station in Johannesburg. I knew I had to pick myself up.

“Fortunately I was mathematically adept, and so was able to get a job in IT and then I met Christine.”

In the play, the audience, through Mr Muller’s first-person narrative, learns how Mr Clark came to be a stay-at-home father after his wife went back to work in the banking sector following the birth of their first child.

Contrasting with dark memories of his own childhood, there are moments when he believes himself to be a failure, since all he does is look after his children.

However, he also realises that by doing so he is giving his children the love he never had in his early years.

“I have never been a good sleeper, so I would get up at 2am to write. Later in the morning I would get the kids ready. I wanted to write in peace.

“In fact, I didn’t even show Christine my work.

“When I had finished, I told her to book into a hotel for the weekend and read it over some wine. I don’t think she even read it,” he quipped.

Ms Clark said it was “strange” seeing moments from her own life on stage.

“I thought the play was wonderful. I can recall all these things. Very surreal,” she said.