A blind date with Berlin: 150% successful


Berlin for me, is a like an unattainable crush. You see from afar, hear stories and gossip from people who know the subject or shall we the say the ‘object’ of one’s affection. Then it gets to the point where you either dive straight in, and declare yourself at one with the place OR simply walk on by and never allow yourself the experience to understand truly what the other is all about. I guess in many ways you can say this is with any relationship.

Berlin. You are this to me.

During all my years of music and vocal lessons, German was never a language i wanted to sing. It was harsh and nasty. Poetry and lyricism – a little non existent. All you had coming out of your mouth were throaty ‘throw up your words’ sounds. Then i found Kabarett, Cabaret, avant garde and the underground. German poetry was my new best friend.

Berlin. I put you on the pedestal for four years.

Extremely unhealthy i know.

But now, we meet.

Thanks to the Australian Council, there a few very ambitious goals that are sitting quite local like heartburn; only the pain is a little more manageable, and wanted – because of Aus Council’s incredible support and grant, I can now achieve a few goals that may have spent a little longer time on the shelf. In some ways in makes me a little nervous, and puts on the pressure of reaching them. However, after having a year and half off from performing and writing, I guess it will only take a wee while to get back on the horse. Note: riding an actual horse is on the list of what to do in 2012. Note no. 2: not in a show.

I’ve carried the stereotypical artist’s notebook in the bag on all my travels (local and abroad). The pages contain ridiculous scribbles; dot points; crazy idea 1, idea 2, idea 3; costume notes (that’s right working backwards, and oh making sure i look the part first – insert sarcasm here); and there are drawings; titles of songs; phrases; notes for setup; reasons for why i like things i have chosen; basically bits and pieces but nothing large or worthy of saying something is ‘coming together’. They’re just fragments. I’m trying to make sense of that, and remind myself that this takes time. But to be honest, it’s taken more time than what i hoped.

The obsessive thought: the opening. This part of the show is something which never leaves me alone and something i can never pass. I believe i have six different versions of my opening. Three with the same song, two with the same setup, four with different introductions, and the recent one includes a Tom Waits song. Tom Waits. You see, my repertoire is strictly French 60 and 70s pop. Tom Waits, is not. And Tom Waits, is not as overdone as Edith Piaf or Jacques Brel, but still a little promiscuous. Nonetheless it is a song that seems to resonate something in particular. So is this a start to another show? Or can he be included? Or maybe it’s just a thought that doesn’t really need any extra attention, and was purely another fragment in the book? Something called warming up?

To be honest, the actual image included a black piano, a well iced pink cake, a mirror and Tom Waits. Maybe that idea of sitting on cake from a previous show is seeping into my brainstorming for the next.

Anyway, I think i’ll stick with ‘warming up’ until I have a clearer idea of what is happening with my pages. I anticipate next week will be the time. After a meeting with a German Kabarett artist and a session with a French chanteuse, plus a couple of Burlesque classes with Lady Lou, and a smorgasbord of theatre, cabaret and Berlin love – i anticipate warming up will become a daily religion.

Tomorrow, the real pilgrimage begins.

The Gate