“Our society thrives on fear… of the unknown… and to offer yourself, and be comfortable… is an act of rebellion” – Tessa Waters [Closing Remarks in ‘Fully Sik’]
I visited a show over the weekend which truly transformed my interpretation of the term… ‘comedy’. I’ll be honest, my preference is usually well-written, witty and slickly delivered dialogue with an air of intelligence – one which makes my mind laugh first, then followed by my mouth.
Somehow along the way, I forgot the alternative could occur.
In other words, my mouth laughing first, whilst my brain struggles to make sense before following suit and laughing afterwards.
In other, other, words – Sometimes things are just involuntarily funny, and you don’t know why until afterwards. In hindsight, it adds to the delight.
That’s clearly what Tessa Waters specialises in, and it’s blaringly obvious throughout her newest Fringe Festival Show “Fully Sik”. She successfully turns things on their head, and you could sense the audience all trying to make sense of it, before resigning, and simply immersing themselves, no matter what it was. We all gave up trying to make sense or add logic, and with that so much joy was released. We found ourselves laughing, for reasons we couldn’t immediately identify.
For example – If you’ve visited the show, you’ll know exactly what a woman travelling down a tight imaginary tubular water slide looks like, prior to getting stuck in it. And now that you know what it looks like, there’s no removing that image.
Here are some moments where my brain didn’t immediately compute what was going on, but my mouth was laughing way ahead:
1. Waters’ impersonation of Jerry Seinfeld’s observational comedy, whilst adding a Queenslander accent, and dressed like some sort of fanciful costume mascot.
2. A skit of a house party, which was all too relatable, accurately displaying “a mix between a rave, and a family BBQ”
3. Sharing an invisible communal joint with every member of the audience. (In no way has imaginary drug use ever evoked such a close sense of community than during that show)
4. Tessa successfully teaching an audience member how to use an invisible hula hoop, whilst providing tips in increasing their showmanship, which the audience happily encouraged. (Her advice for him to serenade an older female audience member with an eye wink, left us in stitches)
The list could go on.
But perhaps the most poignant of all is the fact Tessa is unashamedly aware she is not for everyone. Not everyone will enjoy or appreciate the level of skill required to make what she does look effortlessly simplistic – and in that is her true power, as she is totally committed in her foremost goal:
To release joy.
In many cases, whilst my brain didn’t know what was going on, my mouth and laughter certainly did. And whilst humour may often be understandable, joy certainly always isn’t.
For that, Tessa Waters certainly delivered.
[Tessa Waters Fringe Festival Show “Fully Sik” completed its run on February 3rd 2017. For more information on Tessa or her comedy, visit www.fringeworld.com.au]