Labelled New York's 'bravest and bawdiest burlesque duo', these foul-mouthed performers are set to capture audiences' minds during their upcoming shows at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Wau Wau Sisters' Adrienne Truscott talks to Rachel Barnes about their ridiculously fabulous performance style, the inspiration behind them and their passion to keep on going.
How do you come up with such unique performances?
We trust our imaginations and guts a lot. We don't search for themes, we try to notice what's on our minds lately, what's in the news, what the world feels like, what's in our hearts. But sometimes the work can start from a ridiculous costume we see or suddenly think of, or a song we hear. Our process is very free and spontaneous, at least in the beginning, and we trust our own relationship and laughter – if something makes us laugh or excited in rehearsal, we trust that that will translate with our audiences. Once we're on our way, there's a lot of crafting and challenging ourselves and one another on where we're headed and how we get there.
You have been labeled as utterly fearless, but is there anything in your show that you're nervous about doing?
Sure, there are some ideas that occur to us that even give us pause, but we just think things through, and if they feel like they are coming from the right place, intelligently provocative, etcetera, then we'll do it. We certainly want to keep challenging ourselves and our fears, whether that's a new trick or a 'new way' to perform. One day, the scariest choice for us could be to keep our clothes on! But one thing about our act that I think really reads is that it's our togetherness on stage that makes us fearless – we make one another fearless.
Why do you think your style of performance attracts such a large queer following?
It's pretty clear that our sense of sexuality is broad and bold and bawdy, and really all inclusive. We're pretty fond of love and reckon the more of it in the world, the merrier! Like an all you can eat buffet!
Do you have any involvement with the LGBTQ community?
Yes. For the most part we're on the road, and find ourselves quite firmly in that community wherever we land! It's an amazing community and as a community it's probably one of the smartest, most fun, elegant and festive ambassadors a country or city could hope for, for visiting folks! We work regularly with Olivia – a lesbian travel company which we love, and I work occasionally at The LGBTQ Center (in New York) – I've done some choreographic work with teens and young adults, some of them who have left their homes because of their family's intolerance, who use the centre as a resource.
Surely this kind of performance work is exhausting physically. Do you plan to continue doing this for some time to come?
We'll do it for as long as it remains fun, amazing and full of opportunities for us, which seems like it could be forever! Maybe it's exhausting sometimes, but we love it and can't really imagine anything else. It feels like our shows get better and better, and if we get really old, surely they'll just get funnier and more bizarre! In the meantime, we reckon a tent or venue filled with beautiful weirdoes, wigs and booze beats an office nine-to-five any day!
The Wau Wau Sister's Last Supper, until October 9, 2011, GH Hotel, 1 Brighton Rd, St Kilda, Melbourne, www.melbournefringe.com.au