Rubbings From A Live Man
In a career that spans forty years, Warwick Broadhead has conceived, directed and performed in over sixty original shows presented in a huge variety of venues both in New Zealand and abroad. He has never allowed his work to be recorded.
But now, faced with a director’s provocations, the flamboyant performer is pushed to re-enact the highest and lowest moments of his life using his own cast of alter egos. From lavish scenes with opulent costuming to the intimate whisperings of a man alone, Warwick bears his soul in phases. He revisits the young man in 1950’s suburbia; the orgy of self-discovery in 60’s San Francisco; the moments of reflection as an artist in the maze of his local sauna. Rubbings from a Live Man is a testament to one man’s ability to stare his life in the face, by performing it anew.
Warwick Stanley Broadhead has survived four heart attacks, a triple bypass operation and the guilt and grief of his mother’s and his sister’s suicides.
Born in Auckland New Zealand in 1944, he grew up in a working class Catholic family of four children. As a child, he failed at his sporty father’s beloved rugby, relished the rituals of the church and loved dressing up. He claims to have known he was homosexual from the age of six.
Warwick became a performer in gender-bending theatre company 'The Angels of Light' and went on to direct theatre shows all around the country.
Now in his sixties, a conversation with a young filmmaker about his life turns into a commitment to allow his life story and his work to be filmed for the very first time.
From September 2006, director Florian Habicht and DOP Christopher Pryor spent four weeks in an Auckland house and on various exterior locations, filming with Warwick Broadhead.
From the beginning Florian envisioned that Warwick would tell his story through a cast of alter ego characters. As it turned out, the alter ego characters make up just one of five streams of storytelling in the completed film: there are also scenes of Warwick simply telling his story to the camera; impressionistic re-enactments of some of Warwick’s real life experiences; video diaries, in which Warwick directs himself; and scenes in which the relationship between filmmakers and subject is directly explored.