We’ve spoken about Pamela’s Palace before – the newest smash hit from ITI’s unbeatable line up. Over the past few months we have had the opportunity to talk to one of the creative collaborators, Donna Gray, and the collaborative mentor, Aitor Basauri .
In those interviews we asked Donna what is was like taking a show she developed as a one-woman piece and creating something totally new and different with it; and we found out from Aitor about the process of collaboratively devising.
Now the show is on the road and heading down under, so ITI’s Caitlin Page sat down with Ayesha Tansey – creative collaborator, actress and Australian – to ask what it is like bringing this one-of-a-kind show home, to Australian festivals and the reality of an Australian audience.
Caitlin: Ayesha! Thank you so much for talking with me. I wanted to jump straight in by asking you what it was like developing Pamela’s Palace?
Ayesha: Writing and devising Pamela’s Palace was a joy. I think that’s when you know you are onto a good thing. Lots of laughter in the room, loads of ideas, ball games and mischief making. We were directed by Mella Faye with support from Aitor Basauri (Spymonkey) and Stephen Harper (Told By An Idiot). To work with these three brilliant clowns on the creation of character and choreography was a delight and rehearsals were spent dancing, singing, improvising and being idiots in front of each other which was a welcome respite from the gloom of London Bridge.
CP: Sounds like brilliant fun. In those sessions did you to think about how your character will translate for Australian audiences? Your character, Bronwyn, is an Australian living abroad in the show, isn’t she? Do you have any plans to change this aspect of her?
AT: We were fortunate to receive a grant from Arts Council England, which means we can invest in a month of further development and rehearsals in January. During that time we shall discuss Bronwyn’s long distance phone calls to an Australia, and whether they need to be adapted. Australia is SO vast though – so being ‘far’ from one’s home is still a viable (and relatable) narrative through-line.
CP: What’s it like to bring a show that you collaborated on home to Australia?
AT: Having the opportunity to bring work that I have had a hand in writing to my home country gets me a bit teary actually! Australian audiences are a special kind of wonderful. They can be a brazen and ruthless, heckle and shout, but also laugh and applaud with abandon. I love how vocal they are. I think that kind of thing should be encouraged more!
CP: How does it feel to know your friends and family could come to see it?
AT: Oh, so absolutely wonderful. I have been living in the UK for eight years now, working in comedy, experimental performance art, and theatre. To come back to Australia and perform in venues I went to in my early 20s is such a pleasure.
CP: We are taking the show to Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2019. Have you been to either festival? What are your memories of them?
AT: Only as a punter! Our year 12 school camp went to the Adelaide Festival (shout out to Sandy High) and I believe we saw a couple of Fringe shows while we were there. We also dipped our toe into ‘teenage street theatre’. This by the way included buying a Macdonald’s 30c cone, taking one lick and then creating a still frozen tableau, until our ice-creams were puddles on the ground. Haha! I remember having a very cold tongue and a strong sense of ‘why did we just do that?’
CP: Do you think Australians will enjoy Pamela’s Palace?
AT: I think they will relate to the humour. To the self deprecating, unmitigated poking we do at female representation in this country. It’s done with a smile and a twinkle though, the audience are with us all the way. I think Aussies love a good yarn as well as the next person. And HAIR is universal. I remember hearing from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara people in central Australia that they traditionally used a berry to dye their hair red as they believed it was more attractive. And I mean, look at those bush rangers.
CP: Last question: how would you describe the show to an Australian?
CP: Thank you so much for your time! It sounds like the show will be amazing fun down under!
If you like the sound of this truly hilarious, completely unique show and would like to join us in the new year, you can catch Pamela’s Palace at Adelaide Fringe (links for ticketing and times here), and at Melbourne International Comedy Festival (links for ticketing and time here).