Liz Skitch: Because I Can

ABOUT THE WRITER: An amateur Brisbane comedian regularly performing around Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Lauren Randall loves to engage with audiences from the stage and in word.

Comedian, actor, clown (yes, that’s right), writer and director: Liz Skitch is a one-woman show all unto herself. Having completed her training in clowning at the prestigious school of Philippe Gaulier in London, Liz has continued to promote her skills on stages around Australia and internationally with theatre company debase productions. With a variety of comedic shows touring between Melbourne and Brisbane, debase thrives on empowering audiences, challenging society through comedy. With a bunch of shows touring around Queensland and making its way to Melbourne, debase presents ‘Spoilt‘: a one woman show featuring five characters to come together for a wedding reception that skips between tragedy and hilarity. Directed by Fiona Scott-Norman with lighting by Timothy Cummings and sound by Donald Stewart, Liz Skitch has written a show based upon the many personalities and perspectives of today’s western woman in a commercialised world for self-improvement and extravagance – especially when it comes to weddings. It’s quite incredible to think that with a few wigs and personality changes, Liz manages to capture a whole new character: the irony of this very fiscal lifestyle we live. In the lead up to ‘Spoilt’ coming to the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, we sit down with Liz and chat how she manages to perform five characters in one show, the creative processes involved, what the audience can’t expect – and her guilty pleasure.

Why a one-woman show?
Many reasons. I moved to Melbourne a few years ago and until I find my new comedy partners down there, I guess it’s best to work solo. Having said that, I have got a great director on board with Fiona Scott Norman. We have plans to create more shows together. Also: because I can. I have always been into transforming myself into multiple characters. Why else? It makes for a cheap show that you can travel easily with. This is a pretty essential consideration if you want the show to have more than one season. So far we have had two seasons in Melbourne, travelled around Queensland with it and next I hope to take it to some festivals.

Who or what do all these women represent? 
The show is called SPOILT because all of the women in it have taken self-improvement a little to far and over indulged.

How do you manage to perform a show all by yourself? 
Simple – multiple wigs and shoes!
How did you create such diverse characters to play? 
I find my victims in all sorts of places: some in magazines, some in real life, some on TV. It just so happens that the ladies in the show are all exactly about ten years in age apart.
Do you find writing for and performing as these characters cathartic? 
Sometimes yes, other times no. At the end of the day it is a comedy and when it lands right – yes it is cathartic. When you feel you have missed your target, you can just feel misunderstood.
What creative processes came together for the show?
This time the work was more research based than ever before. Basically I started picking up piles of magazines – ‘That’s Life’ is a guilty pleasure. People write their real life stories in that one – it’s a gold mine! The most disturbing mags that I purchased were the plastic surgery ones. Yes – I go there.Then come the wigs. Then video cameras. Then heaps of dressing up and improvising. Recording, scripting, editing, show and tells…. Repeat that process about a dozen times and you have a show.

What does it mean to be ‘spoilt’ as a performer in the world today? What about as a woman?
I guess you are only spoilt as a performer when you take your audience for granted. Or when you are performing for yourself instead of your audience. I try to avoid this. Generally if I fall into this trap, the show starts sucking very quickly. What does it mean to be spoilt as a woman? Well, this was the starting point for the show. I got sick of being marketed to. It seemed that every advert was telling me to ‘treat myself’ or to ‘indulge’ because ‘you deserve it’. Oh please!!

What can we expect from the show? 
1. It is a comedy so expect to laugh…Lots.
2. It is set at a wedding. The central character is a rather tragic bride- to be. She’ll break your heart. It has been described as a tragicomedy.
3. Whatever you are expecting – it is not that. This show will surprise you. I promise.
4. There is audience interaction. The audience is enrolled as wedding guests – you might even catch the bouquet!

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