For many years Daniel Tobias didn’t talk about his ordeal with stage four testicular cancer when at just 29, unless someone else brought it up.
Now, the 44-year-old has literally stood in front of thousands and described his battle in the most musical and comical way. This week he will stand before Wollongong audiences for the first time.
Tobias’ one-man musical, The Orchid and the Crow, makes light of the plight of losing one of his testicles, brushing with death, but also the faith he found in now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s biography.
“It’s like a weird nightmare I had … a whole lifetime ago,” he said. “Up until 2015 it was a little bit invisible because my lifestyle was exactly the same … it didn't affect my outlook. But when I started performing the show I started telling my secret.”
One of the things that gave him strength during the ordeal was hearing other people’s stories so he promised one day he would share is own tale of survival.
In each city he performs, Tobias conducts an audience Q&A after one of the shows, to chat further about his experience and allow others to share.
He said the most asked about topics were how he felt about Lance Armstrong now, some the decisions he made which seemed surprising, and his choice of genre for each song performed.
It's as much a story about faith as it is about cancer. Tobias was an atheist faced with the prospect of death, and found himself turning to a living god who'd been through the same trial and came out on top of the world. But even Lance Armstrong is a fallen idol today.
The storytelling is mixed with true moments, comedic embellishments and plenty of original music – from an `80s-style rock ballad to opera and gospel.
- with John Bailey
The Orchid and the Crow, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wednesday October 10 – Saturday October 13. www.merrigong.com.au