Money, feminism and power… ballads

25 January 2018

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Sometimes comedy is the best way to explain depressing statistics, says Melbourne-based comedian Elizabeth Davie, and so she’s having a crack at the superannuation gender gap in her Fringe show Super Woman Money Program. Seesaw thought that sounded awesome, so we invited Elizabeth to complete our Fringe Sessions Q&A to find out more.

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?
Elizabeth Davie: I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but I started out as a visual artist, studying printmaking. That was before I got addicted to making people laugh. Making people laugh is easier (and more fun) as a comedian than as a printmaker.

S: Did you undertake formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both?
ED: I started doing stand-up about five years ago, just learning on the job. But since then, I’ve trained in improv and clowning, including going to clown school in France for a bit.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
ED: Hmm… my comedy is sort of a mish-mash of personal stories, political stand-up and really silly clowning and dancing. And power ballads!

I’ve worked on community TV shows, doing political jokes and sketches, but at the moment I’m loving being able to make live shows and be with the audience every night. Doing an hour-long show lets you explore things in more depth and do material you couldn’t do in a five or ten minute spot.

I created Super Woman Money Program with my amazing directors, Sharney Nougher and Shannan Lim, so even though it’s a solo show, it was very much a team effort. They helped me shape the material and make the show the best it could be and I loved that process. I will never work without a director/s again!

S: Career highlight so far?
ED: My career highlight so far is selling out Super Woman Money Program at the Melbourne Fringe, but the best part about that was chatting to audiences afterwards. I had so many amazing conversations with people afterward, about their experiences with money and superannuation and the politics of it all. It’s actually a very emotional issue.

S: Tell us about Super Woman Money Program!
ED: Super Woman Money Program is a comedy about money, feminism and power ballads, inspired by my super company. They sent me an email suggesting I tackle the gender super gap by buying cheaper makeup, reusing my tea bags and avoiding divorce. The whole email was such a joke, I figured there must be a show in it! So I decided to see if I could make superannuation funny, because comedy is the best way to explain depressing statistics.

I know just enough about money to know I really don’t know enough, so I did a heap of research. I still don’t know enough, really, it’s so complex and confusing, it’s no wonder most people don’t even know their own super balance!

The show explores my own life, and also the social structures that place women at a financial disadvantage, through a mixture of stand up, sketch, clowning and storytelling. It’s funny, I promise!

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
ED: So many amazing artists and comedians have come out of Perth, including both my directors, Shannan and Sharney, so I couldn’t wait to bring a show to Fringe World.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
ED: I’ve never been to Perth, so I can’t wait to visit and see the city. And there are so many amazing shows to see! But I’m possibly the most excited about the beaches, I hear they leave Victorian beaches for dead.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
ED: I’m a big fan of the swings! It’s really meditative.

Super Woman Money Program plays Upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s, 30 January – 2 February.

Pictured top: Elizabeth Davie. Photo: Nayt Housman.

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