Monthly Archives: March 2012
You know when you have an idea of the “that would be so cool if…” variety but then it just kinda disappears into the ether? Well, that’s kinda what happened last Woodford Folk Festival, when the fabulous Auslan interpreter Ruth Sullivan and I connected on (and off) the comedy stage.
We had so much fun doing our thing together – I absolutely LOVE what interpreting brings to the performance, indeed you can read what Adam Hills wrote about it (far more eloquently than I) over here - that we floated off into the Woodford breeze, making exclamations about how cool it would be to work together again. Soon! But as life does, it got in the way, and nothing really came of those very best intentions/wishes.
Ruth got in touch to let me know she was coming to see my show at Brisbane Powerhouse and I was stoked. But thick as I am, it took me a good 24 hours to actually realise “Hang on! We said we were going to do this thing together again. Let’s just FREAKIN DO IT!”
And there it is.
And I do hope that our current future wishes/intentions of conquering the world together do likewise!
Tonight and tomorrow at Brisbane Powerhouse 8pm. Some tix still available here.
So reality has hit hard, as it usually does post-festival in what I’ve come to call PTSD: Post Tour Sadness Disorder/Disorientation.
Back to regular blogging shortly, I’ve really needed this week just to decompress, re-connect with the fam and of course, catch up on about five kilometres of housework. I like to measure it in distance terms. It makes me feel athletic.
In the meantime…
- Only 1 more sleep til Brisbane Powerhouse shows start! 2 shows only folks, and when I checked yesterday tix sales had doubled within a day. AGH! (Admittedly they were pretty slow to start, but if I have a chance to spin it positively, I’m gonna take that, yo!) Would love to see you there, Saturday night is also the hubby’s and my 10 year anniversary - a DECADE!!!!!!! WHAAAA??? Have I even been alive that long? – so if you care to join us at the bar afterwards for a celebratory drink and/or booty shake, we will welcome you with rabid enthusiasm. We don’t get out much, so seriously. You might be so welcomed it could get awkward.
- My guest post on MamaMia this week about me and my lovely pub legs. Yep, you read that right.
- Fantastical post from Gala Darling about creating a low-budget but awesome creative retreat without going away. I LOVE this. As some of you know I did an amazing residency at the Banff Centre a couple of years back (where I wrote much of what became “An Unexpected Variety Show”, actually) and was so inspired at the time to try to re-create the experience from home. Very cool.
See you soon!
It is FINISHED!
I have been busy finishing it, packing it up, digesting it and recovering from it. So here are a few pics and notes of point from the final leg.
The final gig was so bizarre…completely sold out, people standing (which I don’t really like, only because I feel sorry as I know how much I would hate standing for an hour!) and so I was so pumped…only to have one table of people up the back talking through the entire first quarter of the show. Now as a stand-up I’ve had plenty of experiences with this happening and am fine with handling it, only this show is NOT a stand-up comedy show. It’s much more theatrical, in fact I’ve had people even say that they would classify it as a solo theatre show. Point is, I felt a bit reluctant to break the theatre of the show and just address them. But then, after about 15-20 minutes in, I just couldn’t go on. “Excuse me,” I called out, “I’m sorry, but why would you come to a show like this and talk through the entire thing?” The rest of the audience murmured agreement and some of them even clapped. “Please,” I said to the shadows at the back, “if you want to stay and watch, I will welcome you, I will even hug you at the end, but if you would rather talk to each other then PLEASE JUST LEAVE!”
The crowd clapped which made me feel so much better…I was so mad at myself for letting it get to me, but it just did. They did shut up for the rest of the show, though I could still see their heads moving up the back (apparently over a rather impressive number of wine glasses) the whole time. Finally around the 45 minute mark they left the building. Phew! I believe at the end of the show I may have even uttered a very loud and public thank you to them for doing so by way of expletive. Ah, rude people. You may suck, but you really can have a knack for drawing an audience and a performer even closer together.
The whole trip – indeed, any performing undertaking – has been a total leap into the unknown, or the semi-known or the known-enough-to-hope-for-the-best-but-with-no-guarantees and luckily, it seems to have come up pretty damn beautifully.
And now we are back home, decompressing, reuniting and drawing breath before the next big leap.
Thanks for playing along.
Yesterday we took the troops up to Hahndorf, a super cute German town just outside of Adelaide. We’ve been averaging one excursion out of the house each day which thus far, has been perfect.
On this particular day however, Mister Three – and in all honesty, Mummy too – hit a wall of “fringe fest fatigue” and it all went downhill pretty damn quickly. What ensued was a full limbs-flailing, lungs peeling, strangers smiling in bemusement (at least I hope it was bemusement and not schadenfreude: DAMN I got to use that word in an actual legit German context!) and a brisk walk back to the car, where the little dude promptly put himself straight to sleep.
But not before we snapped some pretty Hahndorf thangs!
Ah well. We are only days away from the finish line and I guess one or two epic tantrums is kinda inevitable. That makes me feel better. Especially when I say it in a Schwarzenegger accent. INEVITABLE.
The gigs have been going beautifully; Tuesday was so sold out it was kinda ridiculous, some folks had to stand up for the whole show! Such a wonderful feeling; I feel almost guilty about it as I know so many amazingly talented folks who are struggling for audience numbers this year. As those of you who’ve followed since my Melbourne Fringe escapades last year well know, I know exactly what it is to be performing your heart out to three, four or five people (some nights 100% of my audience were staff of the venue!) so I certainly don’t feel like I’ve been on easy street my whole career. But this season, I have had a great one. And I am GREATLY GRATEFUL. Full of grate!
Last night’s Titters saw an improv song about a beautiful couple together for 33 years (!) who met when she cut his hair at a salon. Agh, I love hearing snippets of people’s stories! The song that followed was all “let me cut my way into your heart” and something like:
“after I’ve cut your hair,
I’ll cut off other things just so,
because it’s called marriage baby,
don’t you know?”
Then when one of the line-up comics couldn’t make the show due to hers running late, I came back onstage to finish off the show with another improv song. This time we found the couple who’d been together for the least amount of time…a lovely couple called Debbie and Dave. (Well in fairness, Dave wasn’t there so I am assuming on his part a degree of loveliness). Turns out Dave is a wharfie and they met online. Again, the song is so fuzzy in my head – as all improv stuff I ever do always is, it’s almost like a dream I can’t quite remember – but it seemed to go well and ooooh yes, last night’s show was videoed! So will share that with you if and when I can. Unless, in the words of Shrek, “I can’t find you or I forget.”
Tonight is my second-last show of “Unexpected” – Saturday’s is sold out so if you’re in Radelaide and want to come, tonight is your last chance to come! Tix here.
Also the show is getting some beautiful audience reviews over at talkfringe if you care to check em out.
Oh and finally, if you’re in Brisbane and wanna win some tix to my upcoming Brisbane Powerhouse shows, you can do so with the lovely crew over at BrisStyle here!
Love, light and tantrum-free bliss-balls.
Crazy times, dear Tour Diary, crazy times.
- Representing Germany in the most fabulously funny and trash-tacular “EUROWISION!” alongside luminaries such as the Axis of Awesome (where I told them about my very own parody of their parody), Dave Callan (who I met by almost literally falling into his arms upon leaving the stage), Jason Chong and umpteen other cheese-tacular talents. SOO SOO fun! My mate Leon – rechristened “Helmut” for the festivities” joined me in a little Deutsch duo. And it was filmed! Will share it for sure once I’ve got my hands on the footage. Best crowd ever, definitely a brilliant note to finish Sunday night on!
- Finally enjoying the wonders of the Artists Bar at Fringe. I’ve been so good looking after myself this past few weeks (early to bed – well, as early as late night gigs can accommodate – having my multivitamins, eating well, drinking tons of water) that I haven’t done the socialising thing, well, at all really. So this week as I am seeing the light at the end of the highly enjoyable tunnel, I have finally let loose a little. This particular night saw some of the funniest ladies I know carving it up together on the dance floor big-time – in between cries of “oh, my back!” “ow, I have a stitch!” We aren’t 19 anymore, clearly.
- Beaching it up at Glenelg. So beautiful, my first time there ever. If Adelaide is cementing its place in my heart, then Glenelg is the blow-torch speeding up the drying process.
- Ella-time. So loving having more time with her, she’s begged me and begged me to come see the show again so will be there (hopefully not front and centre again!) tonight. Which, as a bonus, is SOLD OUT! I have a good feeling about this one…
Only 3 shows left! AGH! How did this happen?
I got up yesterday and looked at my ticket sales and it hit me: only FIVE SHOWS LEFT?! What?! How on earth did that happen? I suppose the gazillion or so guest spots have distracted me from the reality that this roller coaster I’m on is actually coming to an end soon. I will not go quietly.
This week has felt a lot more settled. Somebody told me yesterday that until you’ve done a month-long festival, you can’t really understand the rhythm of it. I guess the marathon comparison continues. Though in the spirit of full disclosure, I shouldn’t even utter phrases that imply there is any possibility of me ever actually running an actual marathon. Never. It’s in writing. NEVER!
But I HAVE found my rhythm. As have the kids. To the point where it now feels like this is not a novelty chapter of life at all, but just our life. Ella (who is being home schooled this month) is rocking it, getting her work done at a most impressive pace so that we can then venture out and explore Adelaide, Cassidy is becoming an avid fan of street theatre as well as becoming stunningly accident prone – the poor little guy got his first black eye this week, not even from any exciting travel tale, just from catching the corner of my bed with his cheekbone. Poor dear. Okay, so perhaps it’s not a rhythm that is particularly painless for him, but he is consistently injuring himself, and I did read in a parenting book once that consistency is paramount. So there’s that.
- We have explored playgrounds, playgroups and play-(insert something here…) a-plenty!
- We sadly missed my hubby’s birthday, as he missed mine due to the Fringe. Sigh. We are gonna make up for it when we are back together with our own homemade double b’day party of sorts, but in the meantime, the kids did what they had to do: they made a cake anyway.
And then proved their love by eating the shizz out of it.
- the gigs have been going really beautifully. I have improvised many, MANY songs. I have failed myself in actually documenting these properly so as to remember them…let’s see, there was:
a) the musician/artist couple who met while working in an organic food shop who inspired a ditty called “Organic Romance”;
b) the musician husband and primary school teacher wife, married 43 years, who, when I asked them what the secret of staying together was, the husband, Brenton, without even blinking an eyelid yelled out “Regular sex!” Such a beautiful crowd at this one; I do recall one line that went something like:
“If you were real estate, I’d want to buy and not be rentin,
Come on baby be my wife, come over here to Brenton.”
I can get shamefully proud of myself for rhyming sometimes.
c) in last night’s show something happened that has never happened before…I like to find out from the crowd which couple has been together the longest. Well for the first time ever, we had two couples battling it out, both had been together 33 years! When it came to the crunch, one couple pipped the other by three measly months, so the improv song was all theirs. A chemist and a materials consultant (still don’t understand what that even means!); at the end of the show the runner-up couple told me that they wished they had just said they’d been together for 33 years and 11 months so they could hear their song. She even offered me some suggestions on angles to take…hehe. I love it!
- have also been a little freaked out by realising how quickly my upcoming shows at Brisbane Powerhouse and Melbourne International Comedy Festival are approaching. AGH! I have been so Fringe-ified down here that I’ve been a little laxer than normal on getting the word out. So in the name of being onto it, Brissie and/or Melbourne peeps, if you would like to come, PLEASE DO! Wow, that was surprisingly simple.
No, okay, here are the deets…
Brisbane Powerhouse, March 30-31st, 2 shows only! You can buy tickets here.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The Butterfly Club, April 10-22! You can buy tickets here.
And of course, Adelaide, you’ve still got 5 chances left to come to my show here at the Fringe! Tickets available here.
Hope you are well wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Unless you’re doing something mean, in which case, I hope you come down with at least a mild head cold.
I’m a little late in coming to the party on International Women’s Day Celebrations, but hey, I’ve been busy being a woman, yo!
As I type this I have my 3-year-old crawling over me, ripping off my necklace and chanting “Playground! Playground!” so shall keep it brief, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to point out some pretty rocking women who are performing at the Fringe Fest who you should come see…there are only a few days left to see them so hop to it!
In no particular order…
Titters: An Award Winning Line Up of Funny Women (full disclosure: of which I am a part!)
Not much comedy in this post, but I just want to share it for what it is. Anybody who has seen “An Unexpected Variety Show” will understand why the prospect of having my daughter in the audience for the very first time was one that filled me with a plethora of emotions, from anxiety to sappiness and just about everything in between.
Despite feeling incredibly tense onstage for the first half of the show (despite my suggestions that a side seat might be a little less confronting for her strutting show-pony of a mother, she stuck to her guns and sat front row, centre stage), having my girl there was just…overwhelming.
Whenever I sing “World’s Greatest Love Song”, I sing it to her every night, but last night, I did so literally. My beautiful little girl.
I should interrupt this by saying that I do not think my show is suitable for kids in general! The only reason I let Ella come along last night is because:
a) she already knows the full story and I’d already talked through some of the challenging themes in it with her;
b) she understands that if she comes to a show with some bad language in it, of which there is a bit in mine, she has to prove that she’s mature enough to handle that without thinking it means she can go around spouting it from her own mouth; and
c) it felt right.
Anyhoo, at the end of the show, I said to the audience “This is a monumental night for me because my daughter is actually here in the audience.” As I spoke it out loud I really started to break up and the crowd clapped even louder. I looked down at her beautiful little face looking up at me, and put my arm out to see if she wanted to join me; after a moment’s hesitation she jumped up onstage and in a scene not unlike that of a finale of any number of romantic comedies, we threw our arms around each other with wondrous love from the crowd.
It was perfect.
We then went backstage and proceeded to bawl our eyes out…and laugh…and bawl some more together.
It was one of the most magical times ever.
We then ventured out for a Mummy daughter date in Adelaide, down through the Garden of Unearthly Delights…
…and then off into the city for a gelato and a hot chocolate.
We rang my hubby and told him all about it in the middle of our girly night. I told him that I’ve just realised that really, whatever the heck happens from this point onwards, in the Fringe and in life, just having shared tonight with Ella is really the pinnacle.
Many people ask me about how I manage to do this performing/touring stuff with kids. Or rather, they just say nice things about how cool it is that I can. Well, most people.
(BTW when my darling box office commander-in-chief relayed this guy’s comments, I was honestly, mostly amused. But I can’t help but point out that in all the illustrious seven or so years of my comedy career thus far, I have NEVER heard any such question aimed at a performer who also happens to be a dad.)
The truth is, I couldn’t do any of this without having my hubby behind me 110%. I am so lucky that he does not see the world through the same lactation-coloured glasses as some (yes, lactation is now its own colour, I’ve just decided it). I truly believe that mothers can still live out crazy and amazing adventures and pursue big dreams, of course I do! But I believe it’s a heck of a lot easier – and better for everybody – when your chief partner-in-crime feels the same way. I take no credit for that at all: I just happen to have shacked up with somebody who doesn’t see gender as an issue in terms of how our family is run. I am LUCKY. I know it.
Plus, in practical terms, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the world’s greatest au-pair onboard the team. This is my first experience ever with an au-pair (in the past I have hired somebody to come and babysit as I go perform or had live-out help come in while I’m away) but this arrangement, provided that we can find the perfect person as seems to have happened this time, is by FAR the best. I love her. I seriously don’t know how I’m going to say goodbye! Five stars!
But yes, point is, as much as I’d like to take it, the reality is that I don’t really deserve any credit for performing, touring and all the rest with kids, because the only way I can do any of this is because of a tremendous level of support from other people. Truly.
Here endeth the sermon.
On a lighter and more “dear Diary” type note, we had the most wonderful time today, catching up with some friends for a play-date in a park by the beach in a cute little part of Adelaide called Semaphore. This time just hanging out with my kidlets in another city, exploring together, socialising and making the most of our new surrounds is such a rocking perk of the touring thing. I hope we can keep it going!
Then I swept little Miss 9 into the city where she came to see her first “mummy-featured” show of the Fringe thus far, that being Theatresports: Clash of the Titans!
Such a lovely night.
It’s so cool too when we bump into people out in Adelaide who’ve seen my show and approach us to chat about it; Ella loves it when people tell her that they saw her onstage (if you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean); she beams and beams. I love it that she gets to be part of seeing how it’s connecting with people too.
Oh and btw, not sure if you’ve noticed but I stopped writing my “today’s gigs” on here as I COULDN’T SUSTAIN IT. So ridiculous. Even writing them down makes me tired. Luckily I’ve gotten the majority of the “five-gigs-a-day” type days out of the way now, so back to more sane programming from hereon in. Hmmm, hang on, let me just do a quick tally:
56 gigs in total (that’s right, it’s increased).
27 gigs done thus far.
29 gigs left!
NEARLY HALFWAY, PEOPLE!
Oh gees, I kinda want to cry.
Tis going so, so well. And I am so, so tired!
Seriously, were it not for a spritely combination of the world’s best au-pair who completely “gets it” when it comes to the madness of this Fringe experience, good folks cheering me on and a rather unhealthy festival dependance on energy drinks, I would just about collapse in a heap.
Which I plan to do at some point, but only if I can schedule it in.
Above: my appearance on the online festival TV show, Festival Fishbowl!
Today was what I hope is my last insane day for a while; teaching a 2-hour improv workshop, then an improv show with Theatresports: Clash of the Titans, then a cabaret spot at La Boheme for Cabaret Live, then for a beautiful “An Unexpected Variety Show” for a smaller but lovely crowd (which included being heckled by an older lady in the front row within 20 seconds of stepping onstage!).
The shows are going so beautifully – especially after the incredibly difficult season that was the show’s debut in 2011, where it was night after night of performing for 3, 4 and 5 people – I am so incredibly happy that the crowds have been so deliciously kind to me this fringe, with two sold out shows thus far! I can assure you I am not taking any of this for granted for one second! I am so, so, so grateful and am crossing everything that it continues to go well. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally feel like the show is being appreciated by people; I had a lovely young woman come up to me the other night afterwards and tell me that she had started crying in the opening number – her husband is in the army and thus is away most of the time; that is part of her own ‘unexpected variety show.’ She teared up as we spoke and I gave her a big hug. As hard as this showbiz thing can be, it really is moments like this – being connected to a completely stranger, for instance – that make me feel that doing the show is so, SO worth it.
I also feel like this weekend I finally hit my stride with working onstage with Matthew Carey. Working with an accompanist is still relatively new to me; during last night’s show I made a conscious decision to just interact more with him. Aside from being a musical genius, he truly is a natural comedian (I hereby christen him “Captain Deadpan of the Ticklish Ivories”) and so to play around with him and then just let his reactions do the rest, well, it’s brought another level to the show!
Tomorrow is all about the kidlets; we’re gonna catch up with one of my best Adelaidian friends and her little clan. Then tomorrow night I’m going to bring Ella with me to the improv show I’m in (she’s ridiculously excited) and then to see my full show on Tuesday! That will be a truly monumental moment; I suspect it’s going to be a massively emotional night.