Monthly Archives: April 2012
Whenever there’s a call out for applications for amazing opportunities my insides kinda digest themselves in a fit of excitement. Most of which I never actually apply for (time, money, realistic thoughts of the logistical nightmare of sorting out family arrangements) but the simple prospect of possibility gets my blood pumping in a way I rather enjoy.
Anyhoo, I tell you all this because the British Council’s Realise Your Dream Awards are currently open for submissions – so if that tickles your fancy, hop right on it, I say! I was having a little fantasy traipse through their website and came across this extremely charming video made by one of last year’s winners, writer Briony Stewart.
Besides being incredibly clever, sweet and clearly displaying her very impressive talents, this one part really hit a nerve…towards the end of the video, there is a piece of text that reads “I want to be the best children’s book writer and illustrator…” followed by a pause.
“The best children’s book writer and illustrator what?” I thought. “In Australia? In the world? In the Commonwealth? Where?”
Then it came…
“…the best children’s book writer and illustrator I can be.“
So apparently I’m the only one who’s surprised by my collapse, physical and emotional, this week. I feel stupid to have not seen it coming, all I can say in my defence is that when it comes to anticipating the inevitable burn out resulting from this mad past few months, I simply did not have time to think about it.
With 2012 thus far comprising not one, but three trips to Adelaide, including a month-long stint for Fringe Fest, followed by a short performance run in Brissie with a two and a bit week chaser in Melbourne, I look back on all this nuttiness and want to slap my forehead: of course! All this time I was on a crash collision towards a nervous breakdown! Duh!
Anyhoo, it’s only of some comfort to know that this implosion is justified.
The good news is that I AM BACK WITH MY KIDLETS!
My word, was I a sad sack in Melbourne or what? I don’t know if that came across in this here ole blog, but seriously, I could not snap myself out of my constant state of forlorn – even amidst the wonder that is Melbourne itself, dozens of amazing comedy shows, nice reviews, a few sold out performances, catching up with beautiful friends – even THEN, I just couldn’t lift myself out of the hazy fog of sorry sads that was missing my babies.
As a result I am currently taking a breather to:
a) cuddle the living shizz out of them. I adore them. Even when they are throwing tanties, pushing my buttons and shrieking to the high heavens above, I want to eat them up.
b) reassess how the heck I can make this performing/family combo work. Because after this past couple of months, I am certain that I simply cannot go on being away from them regularly. It kills.
So yes. Time to catch up on sleep, housework, cuddles…basically trying to remember how the heck to be a domestic goddess again, only to recall that oh, that’s right, I never was. Hmmmm. Instead, I shall try to find my rhythm as the dodgy housewife I am. I baked a packet mix chocolate cake yesterday. That has to be a start.
And time to decide…
…where to from here?
Melbourne International Comedy Festival Tour Diary: No Sleep Til Brooklyn! (Brooklyn = End of Festival)
The roller coaster is almost at its end.
I am utterly exhausted in each and every way. I heard some terribly sad news today about a friend of mine from Canada who passed away suddenly a few days ago; I went into shock followed by sadness followed immediately by what I can only describe as emotional disconnection, my body/psyche knowing full well that in the midst of this insanity, I need to put any kind of “dealing” on hold until next week. I am constantly reminded that a) life really is an unexpected variety show; and b) there really is no need to worry about my career, because in the grand scheme of things, it really just ain’t all that important.
Many epiphanies have resulted from this entire festival experience; I have not yet processed them all in any shape or form so will leave their dissection for later, but for now, a debrief.
SHOWS I’VE SEEN
Sam Simmons’ “About the Weather” – loved the concept, I think I spent most of the show just taking in his plethora of ideas, rather than laughing out loud. The show is so ridiculously clever and unique: I think I kinda love him.
Tim Key’s “Masterslut” – again, I didn’t laugh out loud terribly much (perhaps this common thread is thus more of a reflection on me and my festival fatigue) but he is an original for sure. Poetry, multimedia and a bath. Dig.
Set List – I absolutely LOVED this show as I knew I would. Again, improvised stuff always makes me laugh so much more than scripted; I’m not quite sure why, other than to say that it’s something about the magic of knowing that it’s a never-to-be-repeated thing. Particularly brilliant the night I saw it were Mark Watson, Marcel LeCont and Canada’s own John Dorr, who looked so relaxed and happy to be up there (a good lesson!) I could have watched him make stuff up for hours.
The Horne Section – AGAIN! Yes, I could not keep away. They just inspire me so much, I feel like throwing a tantrum until someone brings me a giant improv comedy band of my very own. I shall call it “pony”.
While the nights have been packed with performing and spectating, I have spent my days trying to catch up on much needed zeds, writing new stuff – including some sketches for my next show, whatever it may turn out to be! – catching up with friends and strolling the streets of beautiful Melbourne.
The shows have been beautiful for the most part; we’ve had a couple of slow nights but fortunately each time the crowd has proven it’s not quantity but quality, proving rather lovely. And now I find myself with only ONE show left…woohoo! I’m so excited about tomorrow, it’s already selling solidly, so should be a rather nice one to go out on. I am very much looking forward to giving it my all and then putting the show to bed for a little while. I am in desperate need for some rejuvenation time and am so so so pumped to write the next one!
Thanks for following the journey!
P.S. Yes I am still missing my kids so badly I’m ready to tear off somebody’s limb if I don’t get to cuddle them soon. So please, if you see me, just hide your appendages. You have been warned.
At the risk of sounding like the nutbag of fatigued emotion that I am right now, let me tell you that while the performances have been lovely, I’ve been soaking up the sights of Melbourne and enjoying a number of most excellent comedy shows, it’s all through a rather pathetic lens of “I CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT HOW MUCH I MISS THE KIDS.”
I had a dream the other night that I was cuddling them all in my bed, then I woke up and realised they weren’t there. They weren’t even close to there. And it’s my choice to come here that’s put us in this predicament.
While I feel extremely lucky on the one hand to have the practical ease that comes with travelling solo, my heart feels like it’s being shredded. They themselves are fine. My hubby is doing a stellar job, we have some extra help in the home front to keep the cupboard full, the house clean and the lunches packed, the kids are doing great, it’s just I have really realised so fully how much I hate being separated. HATE it.
Ugh. End of vent.
On the upside I went to one of my favourite shows of the fest so far last night, The Horne Section.
If you are in Melbourne and are able, you MUST MUST MUST see this! Described on their site as “part improvised, part honed, part performance, part party,” it’s a jazz/comedy group who improvise musical comedy, turn an audience member into the star of each show, spin a giant wheel to determine what segment will appear that night and invite guest comics on the stage to perform a piece for which the band provides musical/sound effect backing.
At the end of it I felt like a little kid who’s just witnessed their calling, pointing a helpless finger at the stage and whispering to nobody in particular: “I want to do THAT.”
The fact it’s at the Spiegeltent is just the icing on the comedy cake.
It cheered me up immensely.
If it weren’t for energy drinks and Melbourne coffee, I would be in a coma right now.
Highlights of the past few days:
- undoubtedly doing a guest spot in Spanzac Ballet, a late night glam rock gig at the HiFi Festival Club last night. I sang Skyhooks. I covered my poor lyric recall with a stunning lightning bolt across my face. I then proceeded to be approached by half of Melbourne’s tipsy wildlife on the walk back to the car. It was pretty damn epic.
- being joined by the wondrous Ruth Sullivan to interpret two shows this weekend. I LOVE HER SO HARD!
I am so loving having these guys onboard, it really makes it feel like a SHOW, you know? Plus I have a brilliant behind-the-scenes crew of Eden (Tech) and Belle (Stage Manager). Which brings me to my next highlight…
- walking into The Butterfly Club yesterday to see Belle wearing a creation she organised all on her own volition:
- still having my mind blown by the ridiculous awesome “eccentric grandma’s house” flavour that is my show’s venue, The Butterfly Club.
- having my hair done nightly – and me avoiding brushing it out daily – by none other than our incredible pianist, Matt Hadgraft. He really is the full service musician. I think he should start up his own freelance business offering musical accompaniment and hairstyling and it “Tease and Keys.” Amazing.
- seeing Daniel Kitson live for the very first time ever. My mind is still reeling. I would utterly love to get my hands on a transcript of the show just so I could actually take the time to digest it properly. It seems wrong to describe such a beautiful work of language with “it was so so so good” but that’s all my little brain can muster up right now. That and “Kitsonian.” I think I’ll just stop.
It ain’t all peaches and Kitson, though.
I am also missing my kids ridiculously much. They are going great, but you know. I really don’t like being away for long and this year has already been insane for that. Today I visited a friend’s house and hugged her kids so much I think I started to freak them out!
One thing’s become clear to us and that is that we don’t want to keep doing it like this: being separated just sucks. That’s all.
I’m also finding the show – while I love that it’s connecting with people on a really personal level – is becoming increasingly hard to perform.
Those of you who’ve seen it know that it’s so ridiculously personal, specifically when I deal with the material about my mum’s death. And while performing it has been cathartic, I think it’s now getting to a point where it’s feeling very much like I’m opening up the same wound over and over again.
You’re either damned if you do, or damned if you don’t: you either disconnect from the emotion of it to protect yourself, in which case you’re not really feeling it and the performance suffers, or you go there for the sake of the show and then deal with the emotional side effects afterwards. All I know is that after performing the show now for nearly two months straight, I am really feeling exhausted to my core.
And now. Bed.
I know I sing it onstage every night, but life really is an unexpected variety show.
The shows have been mostly beautiful – opening night was solid, despite a couple of tech hitches, second night just popped big-time (wish to heavens I’d had the sense to make that one my media night, as we’d sorted out some of the teething issues from the night before! My bad, I’ve learned a good lesson though!) but tonight, complete with six audience members (two of whom were a fellow performer and staff member at The Butterfly Club respectively) and so many tech hitches it kinda seemed like we’d scripted them in, combined with my lack of focus – having heard some truly devastating news of a friend of mine shortly before showtime – meant tonight kinda sucked. Totally blame myself for just not being able to get my head in the game. It’s all good, tomorrow is another day.
On the plus side, somebody brought me flowers…
Have been spending solid amounts of time at the Festival Club late at night, which has been super fun. Also have caught a few shows to make a dint in my very long wish list, thus far have included:
- Xavier Toby’s Binge Thinking. I first met Xavier at Woodford Folk Fest when he jumped up for a guest spot and nailed it, his show involves puppetry of an impressive array of alcohol bottles playing people. It’s funny and indeed, makes you THINK!
- Simon Taylor’s 10 Things I Know About You, also on at the incredible Butterfly Club. The guy is super mart, dances like a mo-fo – he’s made me feel rather insecure about my own boogying skills, a feat which none before him have achieved – and even spins you out at the end. Nice.
- Candy B’s Bootylicious. Seriously, cannot recommend this show more highly. I want my daughter to see it. I want every woman I know to see it. I want ME to see it again! I walked out feeling freaking proud of my body, what can I say? She is amazing.
This morning saw me bound out of bed at the not-so-indecent time of 8.30 for my first radio interview here in Melbs, with the lovely Richard Watts on 4RRR.
Then I hightailed it up to the incredible Yarra Ranges to meet up with my former schoolfriend, fellow performer and now resident of this incredibly gorgeous area, Sar Collins. She is an amazing photographer, by the way, among her many talents, you can check her stuff out over here.
The girl spoiled me rotten, taking me on a driving tour/cafe crawl through the stunning sights of the area, with highlights vising possibly the best kids shop I have ever seen in my life (I believe I audibly gasped when I walked through its doors), eating lentil soup outdoors in a cafe/restaurant that felt like a castle and eating scones with jam and cream at a delicious forest-nestled cafe. AMAZING day.
The nice side of touring, to be sure!
More soon. Hope you are well!
The past two days have comprised rehearsing, tech running, catching up with comedy friends, performing in as many guest spots as I can get my hot little hands on and walking the entire width of Melbourne.
Opening night tonight! I’m off to run some last minute errands, indulge myself with a massage to sort out this aching back of mine before tonight’s onstage hamminess and then BRING IT!
Above: nice little piece in Beat Magazine. If you’re mad keen – and why wouldn’t you be? (I’M TALKING TO YOU, HUBBY-WHO-NEVER-READS-MY-PUBLICITY-WHY-WON’T-YOU-LOVE-ME-LIKE-A-ROCKSTAR?!) you can read the story here.
Oh and while we’re in the plugging mood there’s also a profile piece at the moment on arts hub with me chatting about the influences of my big brother, Eddie Izzard and feeling “entitled” to success.
The last time I was in Melbourne for last year’s Melbourne Fringe – while ultimately ending on a fantastic high and a journey which I am SOOOO glad I took! – was such hard work physically, emotionally and financially that I approached this return with a sense of…hmmm, what I can only describe as “a concerted effort to have NO expectations at all about what may or may not happen.”
Imagine my joy then at jumping off the flying plane and into the foyer (see what I did there…oh alright, I admit it, that’s not an original! I AM SUCH A HACK!) and being greeted with this:
She and her dear hubby Michael had gone all hi-tech on my greeting placard, it doesn’t show up well in this photo but it had the MICF logo with my NAME next to it, yo! The only thing that coulda made me feel more loved would be if I then turned to see Richard Gere rocking up in an open-top limo playing opera and holding flowers. But not THAT much more loved, so you know, good call, Rache.
After that rocking welcome, I settled into my wondrous abode for the next couple of weeks with my dear family friends John and Sandy. Then straight into the city for my very first festival spot this year with Titters. Twas delish! My first ever encore! A drunk guy yelled out! And most importantly, I got to see my beautiful ladeeez, the wondrous lineup of gorgeous women – inside and out – who make up the Titters cast. I heart them so heartily that I could almost shower them with heart candy. Almost. (I am cheap.)
Then off to the Festival Club where I met up with many comedy friends – old and new – and got damn well psyched for this next fortnight.
Ah, Melbourne. I adore you so much I want to mark you as my territory.
Please don’t misinterpret that.
An Unexpected Variety Show at The Butterfly Club
1. The stomach bug has left the building! Huzzah! It’s at least had the courtesy to take turns between us here family members, meaning that at least one person is okay enough to man the fort while the others lie spread-eagle on any flat surface, moaning and groaning and all the rest…plus nestled itself most conveniently between last weekend’s Powerhouse shows and my upcoming season at Melbourne International Comedy Festival – I leave Saturday (AAAGGGHH!) so you know. There’s always light at the end of the bucket.
2. It’s official: my first weekend of shows in Melbourne will be interpreted by my wondrous friend and Auslan comedic alter-ego, Ruth Sullivan (pictured above with me backstage last weekend)! YAY! That’s Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th shows. So tremendously excited about this, I hope it’s just the beginning of a long life of touring our hands, mouths and hearts together! Ummm…did that sound wrong? Ehem.
3. Also joining me for this upcoming Melb Comedy Fest season – the WHOLE season – is my gorgeous friend and musical genius, Matthew Hadgraft (pictured above when we did our thang together recently at Woodford). He will be accompanying me on the keys in grand fashion while we take turns throwing pina coladas down each other’s throats afterwards. Rock.
4. Opening night for my Melbourne Comedy Fest season is sold out. HAPPY JOY JOY HAPPY DANCE! It’s going to be a rocker. Tix still well and truly available for the remaining 11 shows (a couple are close to sold out, I believe) so if you know anybody in Melbs who might dig my stuff, pretty please let them know? I really do rely so heavily on the kindness of strangers – and loved ones, and everybody in between – in spreading the word to share the show with as many folks as possible. I have never been so aware as in the past few months how much my supposed “solo” show is really such an incredible team effort!
5. My 7 year old has recently announced that he wants to be an actor. I have much to say on this. Which I shall. Soon.
This weekend was personally epic on several levels.
1. It was my hubby’s and my 10th wedding anniversary.
2. We celebrated in a last-minute hotel splurge in the city, to coincide with…
3. Closing night of my brief but delish run of “An Unexpected Variety Show” at Brisbane Powerhouse…
…a show which was:
- nicely packed!
- interpreted by the INCREDIBLE Ruth Sullivan (who I adore more and more each time we work together…so much excitement is happening with this partnership, I can’t wait to spill more news soon once things get locked in!)
- attended for the very first time by my gorgeous siblings, Ang and James.
Neither had seen the show before (you might have gotten that from the “first time” reference, however it was so significant to me having them there that I am intent on driving the point home!) “Unexpected” has a very key thread in it about my mother, OUR mother, who very sadly passed away in 1984 – James was 10, I was 5 and Ang was 2. To share her part of the story with any audience is emotional at the best of times – sometimes excruciatingly so – but to perform it last night knowing that her other two children were right there with me in the room was just…something else. I can’t even do justice to what that meant, I will simply say that it really transformed the show for me as I performed it. So incredibly special.
I felt by far the most free onstage EVER last night – pre-show as I peeked through the curtains and saw the theatre nearly full of buzzing, chatty people, I did such a happy joy dance! And I honestly think it was THE BEST performance I’ve ever done of the show; despite the projector not working at the end (bugger! But them’s the breaks…) it was just so much fun. And what a crowd…so giving, so into it, and even willing to give a girl a standing ovation. Love.
I will treasure last night’s memory for as long as I have my basic functions.
The other transformational element in the show right now is of course, having it interpreted by Ruth. Oh my word. A friend emailed me this morning – a friend, I might add, who has seen the show I believe four times now? – and told me that “the combination of the signing and your Mum’s song was magical – one of the more fascinating and touching movements of theatre I have seen on any stage.”
Oh, it moved me too!
After the show we had some fantastic times catching up with friends and family, then hubby and I hit our hotel room and lived out our rockstar fantasies: otherwise known as making 2.30am room service calls. I swear, paying $14 for a slice of pavlova sure makes it taste amazeballs.
Our utopian vision was disrupted around 7am by an early check-out call: our little boys had been sadly struck through the night by a nasty stomach bug, thus we bid adieu to our rockstar reality, dashed back home and spent the remainder of the day cleaning up bodily fluids.
Which, ten years of married life and a heck of a lot of water under the bridge later, seems strangely poetic.