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North Perth, WA, 6006
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The Stage and I

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

The Stage and I

Andrew Ryan

When I was in primary school, I was convinced that I would become a famous actress when I grew up, admired like Nicole Kidman was in the ninetees, or maybe I wanted to be like Claire Danes because her job required her to kiss Leonardo DiCaprio. I loved that guy so much. So there I was, child Tahlia, performing her cute little heart out. I did drama throughout highschool, was part of my local theatre group, did singing lessons, had excellent rhythm- I would have been a pretty rad triple threat. I would read plays all the time, perform in them, write them… and then in year 12 I dropped out of TEE Drama because the thought of fucking up the final performance terrified the fuck out of me, and that’s when my memory of theatre goes dark and fuzzy. I don’t remember making the effort to see any theatre over the last 5 years, until this year! And I’ve fallen in love with it!

Theatre is a funny thing. If you were not into it, it would probably never occur to you to start paying attention. I was accidently introduced back into the theatre world by friends taking me along to a Next Wave Festival 2012 event- “Shamanic Organic Contemporary Cuisine”, which might be better described as “performance art”, but it got me hot for being in the audience for something other than live music.
Being a music photographer, music lover, musician lover and bar tender means I’ve probably spent more time in live music venues than any other sort of building, other than houses. A lot of those have been used for live music too. I’m used to watching bands perform, I know how to engage with it, with the musicians, what to keep an eye on and how to judge if it was “success” or not. But it’s like theatre is fresh to me again, it’s brand new for a second time in my life and I have no idea what’s going on.

I went to see a play that a friend of mine was performing last week- “No Names, No Pack Drill”. I was absorbed in the story of the American Marine who bails out of his duties in World War 2 and ends up falling in love with a girl from Sydney. My friend was playing the role of an American military police officer, and the excitement I felt when he came on stage was matched only once in my music-watching career, when I stood from the side of my stage with my camera as Tame Impala walked out to a huge, screaming crowd at one of the festivals in WA a few years ago. I was so happy! Sitting there in that tiny theatre space, I had the same shit-eating grin stuck on my face that was there during Tame Impala’s set; watching my friend deliver his lines and over-act them slightly was somehow the best fun I’d had in ages. My date for the evening and I discussed it after the show, and decided we simply MUST get ourselves to a theatre performance every week.

Unfortunately I have not yet found a Melbourne equivalent that matches the theatre guide given by CoolPerthNights’ own Christopher Issacs: http://www.coolperthnights.com/articles/intheblackboxwithchristopherisaacs ,
but I’m on the hunt. Luckily another friend of mine has been working on the direction of a play for the last few months, so I went to see it last night, again with my theatre buddy (who looks A LOT like Ryan Gosling by the way. Going around the town with him always makes for hilarity, when women of all ages do double takes, or even straight out stop and stare). The play, “Eight”, is a collection of 8 monologues, I suppose the best way to describe it is that it’s about rough moments in the lives of some very broken people, all around the age of 30. It was dark, funny, intense, thought provoking. I teared up a few times, I laughed at mean jokes about Tracy Emmin just being a slut… I felt like I was watching a film with the most simple set design in the world, and I wanted to watch it again as soon as it was over. Actually, I would love to shoot that film, with those actors, same director, (my friend, who was apparently a very intense director and got out some STELLAR fucking performances from the evidently talented actors), same everything. In fact, I’m going to the makeshift theatre space tomorrow to take some photos of the actors warming up, which I’m really excited about because I have never photographed actors before, and I’m very interested to see how they are with the camera.

I feel like everything is coming together for me in terms of the direction I want to take my creative pursuits… and I think rediscovering that I really enjoy theatre will enable me to reconnect with that younger me, the little hyped up actor that the uber-cool obscure music fan has been suppressing for so many years. And that certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to start acting again (I do enough of it at the bar when I have to be nice to assholes), but it definitely means I’m going to be spending more time at theatre spaces and seeing where that takes me…