Writing and performing An Unexpected Variety Show has been one of the hardest, most thrilling, painful and exhilarating experiences of my life.
The content of the show itself forms an emotional rollercoaster, so it seems fitting that my own ride performing it, from the insecurity of launching it at the Melbourne Fringe where nobody knew who the heck I was, to the complete out of the blue delight of it winning the Cabaret Award at that same festival, to a rocking season at Adelaide Fringe, to even being accepted into a festival in NYC this year (an opportunity it PAINED me to turn down, chiefly due to finances!) to sharing the show with my daughter in the front row for the very first time, to performing it in front of my brother and sister on the night of my 10th wedding anniversary, to having complete strangers email me with their own incredibly personal and heartbreaking stories saying how it impacted them (AMAZING, SO honoured), to the excruciation of performing the same painful portion of the show night after night after night, has been exactly that.
And it’s that last bit – the pain of performing the show – which has brought me to the decision to put it to bed.
At least for a LONG TIME. And at least for Australia. It would have to take something HUGE (like NYC and actually having the ability to take it there!) to bring it out of retirement.
Those of you who’ve seen it will understand what I’m talking about. When I was writing the show, I knew that I wanted to do something different from just pure comedy. I wanted to do something massively personal, something dark as well as light, something real, something authentically me. And when I first started performing the piece – and people started responding – I was so happy to go there.
But earlier this year it got to a point where I felt like performing this piece was starting to hurt me. I’m specifically talking about the material about my mum and her very sad premature death. It was like going over the same wound night after night after night – OR, I could switch off my emotions to protect myself, only then the performance itself felt disconnected. Do you suffer for your art or does your art make you suffer? Where do you draw the line?
Well, I’m drawing it here. I have started writing my next show – one which I’m already getting ridiculously excited about, it’s going to be massively musical, interactive and SILLY! – and in the name of moving forward, have decided that I want to give An Unexpected Variety Show a fitting farewell in front of a supportive home crowd, record it onto DVD so that any who wish to see it, still can! That this final Aussie performance will be part of the Brisbane Cabaret Festival at the scrumptious Judith Wright Centre is just a GODSEND. It really is going to be magical.
To all who have supported the show thus far, I want to say a huge thank you. Whether you’ve bought a ticket, facebooked it, tweeted it, reviewed it, told your friends to come see it, messaged me, approached me, or even just sent a positive thought this way, THANK YOU!!!!!!!! Any performer who gets a show up and running on a shoestring knows how bloody all-consuming it is. When I’ve been on the downward spiral on the coaster, these little nuggets of support have totally gotten me through.
I’m so proud of the show. And I will be proud as I wave it goodbye.
Wanna join me?
Tickets here. (Just click on my head on the poster!)