I am very aware that my comfort zone of talking and singing to large groups of people off the cuff, is the stuff of many people's nightmares! But when I look at what most of the fabulous performers I know do, then I get the 'mares. Moving, using one's body to tell a story, not being able to rely on verbal wit - shudder. So, I ruthlessly put myself into the situation of giving it a go. In a national competition, As you do!
The Grand Tease is New Zealand's Burlesque contest, with heats in the main centres and a final subsequently held in Christchurch. Last night was the Wellington heat. Eight locals and an Aucklander who loves it here got on stage and did two acts each - a "Classic" act and a "Neo" act.
Classic is about elements of tradition - feather fans, big band music, sequin gowns, sequin everything. In Wellington, we are not big on Classic style and it was a challenge for most. We're Neo-ists on the whole - Neo is a free for all of references to popular culture from movies and books and games to food to commentary on society. Costuming can be anything.
Happily, the performance order was the same in both halves so I had a good 45 minutes to change from one costume to the other, which included makeup.
Can you guess who I was in my Neo act?
Everyone really rose to the occasion, and all nine performers were just fabulous. I had no desire to go to the final as a performer, but I was utterly blown away to get these two awards on the night. Best Circus/Vaudeville and Most Innovative - two distinctions I really value!
As for the Mad Hatter, he is making a further appearance on 6 August at the Tim Burton tribute night of Caburlesque. With Mrs Lovett. I reckon if I can go from glamour to Hatter in 45 minutes, I can go from Lovett to Hatter in 25. Wish me luck!!