Beyonce and the bathtub
I am Tasha Fierce, written and performed by Rose Kirkup, Bats Theatre, Wellington, 8.30pm until tomorrow
To capture an audience’s attention, theatre productions often create something bizarre for the opening of their show. But few will confront their audience with the main character fully clothed lying in a bath of soapy water when they enter the theatre.
But that is exactly what Rose Kirkup does with her production of I am Tasha Fierce. The reason for the bath and her being in it becomes a little clearer towards the end of the play but, in between, Kirkup regales her audience with Tasha Fierce’s life story and her obsession with one of the most famous female singers of modern times – Beyonce. And those who know about Beyonce will realise that Fierce was her alter ego on her third solo album IAm… Tasha Fierce, so Beyonce becomes Kirkup’s character Tasha Fierce’s alter ego.
And the sentiments behind two of Beyonce’s singles from that album, Single Ladies and BrokenHearted Girl play a not insignificant part in Kirkup’s story of Fierce, a young girl growing up in Upper Hutt who gains her independence by leaving home and moving to the city of Wellington to get a job with Beyonce, her idol and soulmate.
She had a friend Casey in Upper Hutt whom she lost contact with, but who turns up 10 years later as Fierce’s office manager.
The resulting reuniting of these two classmates culminates in the heart-rending climax of the play, but it does have a successful outcome.
Struggling to fit in and being able to cope with the pressures of independence and the inspiration of an outside force, in this instance Beyonce, who can be taken as a role model to empower women, are the underlying themes of Kirkup’s simple, but very effective story.
While most of her storytelling is done from the confines of the bath, her confident and relaxed style is incredibly engaging. And although the writing is not necessarily deep and meaningful, it is personal and real, made especially so by Kirkup’s natural performance style.
Her excellent use of phrasing, pauses, timing and intonation, along with some wonderfully paced moments, makes this a most enduring and entertaining production to watch. – Ewen Coleman
Wellington performance artist Rose Kirkup as her alter ego Tasha Fierce.