Inspiration, mini pianos and compulsive hoarding

Behind_ the_Candle-a-bra
I am always intrigued with how performers come up with ideas for their acts and wonder if their process of creative thought is similar to how I put my routines together. Generally my inspiration comes from a song or a prop or an image. The last two items in that list have unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) has made me into the mother of all hoarders. I have lots of stuff and I mean LOTS! (I know I'm not the only one out there ladies and gents). I have lots of notebooks full of pictures and images that I have found from magazines, postcards, papers. I've become a collector...I cannot resist the lure of a sparkly sequinned pair of pants or the come hither stare of a severed head (yes I bought that....not sure what for yet).  Midnight ebay bids have contributed to some weird and wonderful purchases of props that have an act in mind that may never come to fruition but I bought it 'just in case'. One of those feverish online buys was a mini black grand piano with mini black piano stool.

This was the starting point for one of my most recents acts 'Behind the Candle-a-bra', a homage to the amazingly flamboyant Liberace. In the beginning I wasn't sure who would be the character behind in piano - should it be a familiar face or a character of my own device. After talking ideas through with a couple of friends and crazy consideration's of Elton John, Lady Gaga etc it suddenly seemed obvious......Valentino Liberace - The King of the piano and costume. The music for the act was quite an easy one to decide on as Liberace recorded a massive body of music. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No .1 seemed fitting as the opening score - it is such a grand piece of music - I wanted to begin the act in such a way that the audience is unsure of how to respond - is it a straight act or a comedy one? Then as the act goes on it descends into the absurd and the music changes into 'Never on a Sunday'. Creating the costume for the act was definitely the fun bit - Lilly Laudanum, costumier extraordinaire created the Liberace outfit which I absolutely love. This act is a great excuse to have a big, flamboyant and over the top costume. I think at the moment Liberace is my favourite act to perform - I love playing comedy roles more than performing straight acts, for me it's more fun and allows you to interact with the audience.

Here's a fabulous video of Liberace at his best. Enjoy:

This article was written for the Bluestocking Lounge Blog. The article can be found here.