This morning I embarked upon a project that’s been flitting through my mind the past few weeks. At the end of last year I decided I wanted to utilise 2015 to focus more on theatre. I’ve already got off to a great start with the incredibly successful 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche and there’s a few other projects that are floating about, and I’ve also recently resigned from a cafe day job to give myself further opportunity to pursue this. That decision wasn’t easy, but I’m hoping it allows me to be more creative, and search out new challenges.
One of these is to revisit an older piece of mine, and bring it back to the forefront of my repertoire. One thing you realise as an artist, and I think it’s definitely something that made me realise I wanted to pursue producing, is that you can either wait for something to happen, and hope it does, or go out there and pave your own road.
In 2009 I made my second trip to NYC, and I went with a goal in mind- to create and perform my own cabaret. I floated the idea past a friend of mine, Kimothy Cruise, who loved the idea and came on as my co-producer.
He helped me organise a slot at Don’t Tell Mama, one of my favourite little cabaret lounges right smack bang in the middle of New York, and sure enough on December 21 I had my little show.
Kangaroosical explored the idea of a busload of Australians escaping and running rampant in NYC. There were Bogans on the subway, gum trees in Central Park, and a confused theatre goer who somehow wrapped all the current running Broadway shows into one.
It was good fun, and it got me my first New York stage credit. Pretty significant for a 21 year old Aussie.
Upon returning to Australia the following year I once again got to have another look at Kangaroosical, this time taking it back to my old university as a cabaret showcase piece before the current first year students embarked upon their cabaret unit.
This time the New York plot wouldn’t stick, so I came up with a slightly rejigged plot about the differences between Australia and the US which allowed for some new routines and songs to be added in. The emergence of loveless Australian Spy Walter Reginald for example.
It was great to revisit the piece, but there’s always been a part of me that’s wanted to work on it some more. Both times the piece was probably more a reflection on my observations and life than greater themes, and I wanted the piece to be continue to be relevant in other markets.
One thing I always notice when overseas is how much people love Australians, the accent, the stories, not so much the spiders, but everything else makes us a pretty fantastic bunch of people to be around. And everyone seems fascinated by the country.
So today I began tinkering on a new version of Kangaroosical, that will this time take audiences on a musical and comedic journey around Australia, from it’s history to it’s cultural oddities.
To do that means sifting through old material, and generating new material. It means going through the Australian song back, and often wincing at colloquial slang. I see characters forming, and fun little situations. There’s still going to be interactive elements, there’s going to be a lot of humour, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
My current idea behind Kangaroosical is to get it to a point where it could be very simply toured, from small locations like pubs and studios, to even old folks homes and community centres. I’m even thinking about creating a children’s version of the show for schools. The great thing about Kangaroosical is that wherever I am in the world I can take it with me, it gives me an opportunity to create work, where I might not have otherwise had any.
I’m excited to be revisiting this old friend, and looking forward to seeing how it changes over time.
For a quick glimpse at the original Kangaroosical in NYC, have a look at this clip.