Nerdination Tour Diary
NOTE: There are accompanying photos for this post but WordPress is being a wang right now…
We played three cities in eight days last week – not an especially huge tour, but it was pretty hardcore for little ol’ me. Here’s how it went down…
It began in hometown Sydney at Slide Lounge, where I stepped on stage for the first time in about seven months to again perform the most demanding show I’ve ever done. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt on this mini-tour, it’s that LadyNerd is a mo-fo’ing bitch diva of a show… that I love dearly, of course.
I especially love how the show I wrote for myself is so dense and unyielding. I was in the perfect position to make life easy, but no – the writer in me would have none of it. She wanted the show to be word-goddamn-perfect and scripted up the wahzoo – which is bizarre considering I did improv for years. Keira the writer is a senior and dominant force, and the actor in me just had to appease and keep up. The singer – by far the youngest player in this pretentious metaphor – skipped along behind those two, ribbons in her hair, innocently enjoying herself while trying not to trip over.
I’ll add two last characters to the awkward metaphor and then, I promise, I’ll stop. My inner-producer/publicist did a solid job because lots of people came! As for my techie side? She’s an unqualified nitwit who is learning, but very, very slowly.
Sydney was such a sweet start to the mini-tour. Not only was it full of friends, it was full of bona fide nerds I didn’t already know, including some bright sparks from Cosmos magazine! Legit nerd cred, y’all. All this made for a super-sharp audience and I really had a great time. To my relief, I found I could still do my thing after months of merely imagining it.
I was especially lucky to have friends there who had seen the show once, twice, or even more than half a dozen times before in its various incarnations, right there again hearing many of the same jokes and songs and still being completely amazing audience members every time and hugely supportive of this weird thing I’m obsessed with. I’m very grateful to have them.
We had a day off and then it was up, up and away to Brisbane! First thing? Amazing, warm sunshine – a foreign concept in Sydney of late, but this is not a small-talk blog (I wonder if the Bureau of Meteorology is offended by the stigma attached to discussing the weather). Then to our lovely venue, Stockholm Syndrome – place of delicious food and coffee and so-lovely-it-kills-me staff.
There had been a charity event on that day, and there were the remnants of very colourful performers left behind – feathers from boas, helium balloons, spectacular drag queens packing up their props… la vie boheme! But would it be a nerd haven too? The answer came at showtime, when one of the venue’s owners, Mark, wore a Space Invaders tee. Word.
I like to think there’s enough variety in the show that, even if Mario or Sonic or Daria aren’t your bag, you’ll still enjoy it. So I was pleased (and relieved) when a member of our Brisbane audience told me afterwards: “I’m not a nerd at all but I loved it!” Similarly, back at Sydney Fringe last year, one of the punters said: “My young daughter is a nerd and we don’t know where she gets it from. But now I know: I’m a nerd enabler!” And finally, far, far too many people relate to: “I’d rather be right than happy.” (so suck it, Dr Phil!).
In both Sydney and Brisbane, we teched on the day of the show. This is, given it’s a show of 30-odd cues and a tonne of keyboard patches (accompanied by my aforementioned dimwitted tech brain and the impending terror of show itself), a dead-set nightmare. If I never have to experience that combo-platter of crazy again, I will be very thankful.
Fortunately, for our next two destinations, we didn’t/don’t. At Adelaide Cabaret Festival, we mercifully teched the day before (in Edinburgh we tech a few days before preview – happiness!). It was a grueling five-hour slog due to some unexpected delays, and by the end I could’ve hugged the whole universe that I didn’t then have to haul my obliterated self on stage. It also helped that had a technical dream-team at Adelaide Festival Centre. Our lighting guy created the coolest pre-show state – we had our Tetris backdrop for these shows and the preset made the pieces all change colours. RAD(ioactive).
Post-tech, MD Mark and I ate amazing food. This is not a food blog (surprise!), but it was that good, it’s worth a vague mention in the chronicles of forever.
Next day, show day number one! This is the part where I tell you we were given the full five-star treatment at this festival. The hotel was amazing, the hotel breakfast was amazing, everyone was super, super nice, and I got interviewed by the ABC alongside a star of Broadway just before my show. Surreal and super cool. Then it was lovely showtime followed by amazing pizza in the Winter Garden (there I go talking about food again). It was all very sparkly – about as sparkly as my “distractingly pretty” MD Mark Chamberlain. I can claim credit for his Tetris tie, but it is hardly the locks of Samson.
It was pretty terrific in Radelaide, I’ve got to say. People liked us! They really liked us… even if I don’t know what vocal range ‘feminist’ is, and even if they questioned my nerd cred (so help me you are wrong, Advertiser – Super Mario is 27 this year!)
By show day number two, I really could’ve got used to the freakin’ sweet treatment. I’d love to have that breakfast buffet everywhere I went. And later that day, I treated myself to an awkwardly named but delicious lunch. Enough with the food already! I should eat before I blog…
To top it all off, our second Adelaide audience was – hands down – the nerdiest pack of uber-nerds to enter the LadyNerd realm. Oh yes, it was as racy as that sounds – I could’ve married this entire audience. They were so on-the-ball with every single reference in the show, they were laughing and cheering punchlines on approach (biggest cheer for “Tom Baker” so far – they didn’t even wait for the rest of the line “the best Doctor Who”. Sharp as a tack!). They talked back at me – in a good way – and I talked back at them and, lo, it was amazing fun. As a relative newcomer to solo work, all I can say is – more of THAT, please! So thank you if you were there. What an unbelievable way to end our mini-tour!
Next, it’s the steam-train to Edinburgh Fringe. Not literally. It’s really far.