Tessa Waters is ‘Fully Sik’

Fully Sik-001

Comedian Tessa Waters is back at Fringe World with a new show Fully Sik. The performer, who trained with acclaimed clown Philippe Gaulier, was a big hit with her last show Womanz.

OUTinPerth chatted to Tessa about traveling the world, clowning about and lost phrases from the ’80s.   

What’s the biggest clowning lesson you learned while studying with Philippe Gaulier?

It’s such a cryptic learning experience that I feel like lessons are still dropping in years after going. But for the most part I learnt how to work with ‘the flop’, to create without fear of failure…well that’s not quite right I’m always scared of failure, but the point is you can work with it once it arrives. Failure is not the end of the conversation, it’s often the start.

Also ‘Don’t be boring Tesco!’ (Gualier’s nickname for me after the UK grocery store chain….I don’t know why).

One time I was trying out a scene and he fell asleep in his big chair (with a giant glass of whiskey in his hand), after a while I just decided to stop, at which point he woke up and beat the drum, ‘Bon, no that was shit! Top level boring…sorry about that’.

I said ‘Philippe, how would you know you were asleep! to which he responded ‘Ah I was asleep because you were boring.’ I mean you can’t argue with that.

Create without fear of fear failure, don’t be boring and listen to your audience as it’s up to them if something works or not.

Your show is called ‘Fully Sik’, do you think reviewers will be adding phrases like ‘totally mintox’ and ‘bodacious’ into their write ups? (If they’re not already doing this can we set the challenge?)

Ha ha what does ‘totally mintox’ mean?

I would be stoked if reviewers added ‘bodacious’ what an excellent descriptive. Sik came back into my vocab after my tour to Perth in 2016 actually, I was getting these packed our houses of hungry, rowdy up for it audiences (the best kind) and the vibe was high and I just felt like it was the best way to descibe the experience.

Also it’s a bit of play on words. As a woman in this industry I get called ‘crazy, mad, whacky, totally nut’ a lot by reviewers, all words that are regularly used to dis-empower women and alludes to the idea that we must be mad to be funny, as opposed to just good, clever, witty, cutting, quick.

I am reclaiming the word as a super Australian term and as a signal that I won’t hold back or apologise for  unleashing my ‘fully sik’ sense of humour.

What’s your show about? The blurb promises dancing and improv. Is this code for interpretive dance? 

It does sound like that huh, well what I do kind of is comedic interpretive dance sometimes. My comedy is super physical, I use everything at my disposal to go after the laugh.

This show is made up of sketches inspired from my life, from growing up in regional Queensland, to attending raging house parties in Melbourne, to supporting my friend to induce her baby.

I’m also embracing a bit of danger with leaving room for improv, stuff to come out on the night, in the moment with whatever the audience sends my way. The show is about embracing your madness, step outside of the norm and be an idiot.

You’ve travelled the world performing, which nation has the best sense of humour?

Straya!! It’s funny I didn’t realise just how ‘australian’ my sense of humour was until I’d lived and worked overseas for a few years.

I came back to tour and all these door suddenly started opening up to laughter and I really felt like I was ‘coming home’ to make my best mates laugh.

My favourite show this year was in Athens though, I performed my show WOMANz (a feminist clown show) and all these fabulous Nonas came and were rowdy as fuck, loved the show and were all grabbing me on the bum (the only time this is OK post show is when a Nona does it BTW), and chanting ‘Po-wer! Po-wer!’. It was the best!

What skill do you wish you had?

To fly – no wait that’s super power.

I’d love to be able to do proper slapstick, like to be able to do epic falls while not actually smashing myself up. To be able to do sick flips on a skateboard would be pretty ace. Be bi-lingual, make a souffle, loads of stuff 🙂 I wanna be the most talented experienced old lady, gotta get me all the skills.

Are there any other acceptable increments of sikness? If not fully sik, can something be casually sik?

Well there’s definiely level 1 ‘sik’ which I think is just feeling like everything is pretty great, you’re having a good time. Then there’s ‘totes sik’ a little more specific and definite. Then you can have ‘sik AF’ ‘sik diks’ ‘sik chicks’, ‘getting siker’ all the way up to ‘fully sik’ no holds barred, full throttle awesomeness.

Fully Sik is playing at The Gold Digger from January 31st, get tickets from Fringe World

Graeme Watson

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