How did you get into this whole theatre lark?
By accident really. I was half way through my Bachelor of Communications and a group of us went to see Creditors by August Strindberg. Long story short – I fell in love with everything about it and I decided I needed to leave uni immediately and become a playwright. I thought drama school might be a good way to learn to write… so after uni (mum convinced me to finish the course) I auditioned for The Actors’ Program, got in and now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
You work with your partner, Darlene Mohekey, quite a bit. Tricky or tremendous? What keeps you working together?
Tremendous. I pretty much just get to hear her sing all day for a job, so. Stoked.
It’s like our brains always go to the same place. She’s such a yes person. I think anyone who’s worked with her will know what I mean. No idea is too farfetched or outlandish. And it’s all about the comedy, which is always good. And. She’s a babe. So. You know.
Your latest collaboration is the Blue Baths Comedy Cabaret 2015? What’s it all about?
Yes! It’s a crazy show full of brilliant, mad people who are super talented at what they do. It’s a mix of fabulous singing, magic, comedy, dance – did I say comedy? I don’t want to say too much – as I think you should all just come and see it – but there will be sequins. So, so many sequins.
(As I’m writing this, the cast are learning their songs for the Nun Set. DANCING, SINGING, SEQUINED NUNS. What more could people want?)
What do you want punters to take away from it? What can we expect?
We just want them to have an exhilarating night. People can expect to leave having laughed, felt something (or been felt by something), eaten magical food (Paprika Fries… I can’t even…) and experienced The Blue Baths and what we are all about.
It will be great. Seriously.
You’re a writer, actor, theatre maker, creative entrepreneur. What piece of work has had the most profound affect on you? Why?
I get quite caught up in what I’m writing. If a story hits me, then I need to write about it and it almost consumes me until it’s all out. And if I have no free time, then it can get really bad. As in, I’ll zone out and live in my head for the day; writing scenes, imagining things playing out. The one I’m obsessing over at the moment is horrendously sad. And beautiful. And frustrating. I can’t stop thinking about it.
What’s the craziest job you’ve ever had (& why)?
I was one of those crazy horse girls. All through high school I trained horses. Before school, after school, sometimes even instead of school. And then every weekend I’d be somewhere in the country competing. And I had a bit of a penchant for problem horses (they always had more spirit and the reward of bonding with them was so epic). It’s what I wanted to do with my life but dad made me go to uni haha.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done onstage?
At a recent Blue Baths gig, I rode a horse into a scene to the tune of ‘Little Donkey’ as a pregnant Virgin Mary with a think kiwi accent and a mono-brow. It was excellent.
What are the most important lessons your parents taught you?
That everyone deserves your time and a smile. Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with people I don’t know at all. I recently had a three hour conversation with a man called Tony who lives in a car in a carpark across the road from my house. We laughed and cried and ate kebabs.
What’s the best thing you cook?
I am the worst cook probably ever. Although if Vogel’s vegemite toast counts as cooking…
What’s your take on where the rainbow community is at?
I guess you could say I’m new to the rainbow community, not to its existence but – as in being part of it. So there’s a lot that I’m learning. But I am very aware that there are so many people working incredibly hard, both behind the scenes and out there on the front lines, fighting for equality. But there’s a long way to go. I have been following the story about Pastor Logan Robertson from Westcity Bible Baptist Church. I actually can’t get my head around the fact that people like that exist.
What are the three things you are most passionate about?
People. Animals. And writing.
What can’t you live without?
Cheese. Hands down.
If you could walk a mile in a famous GLBT person’s shoes, who’s would they be? And why?
I don’t know how much fact there is in this one, or if it’s just a fabrication of the rumour mill. But I pick Virginia Woolf. I pick her, A) coz she’s seriously awesome and B) she was very brave and 3) she has the same size feet as me. So. I wouldn’t get blisters.
Jess Sayer is production assistant (and previously star of) the Blue Baths Comedy Cabaret 13 Jan – 20 Feb at the Blue Baths, Rotorua. Expect song, dance, glittering madness, magic and hilarity… and just a little bit of naughtiness too! Director: Rima Te Wiata & Choreography: Taiaroa Royal. For more information visit www.bluebaths.co.nz