Co­me­dian re­turns to her first stage ap­pear­ance

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

Kiwi comedic roy­alty and award-win­ning per­former Michele A’Court is re­turn­ing to the first stage she ever per­formed on at Levin Lit­tle Theatre next week­end.

NZ Com­edy Co­me­dian of the Decade award-win­ner A’Court, who will head­line at Levin Com­edy Club on Satur­day Oc­to­ber 6, grew up in Levin and had her first taste of per­for­mance on the Lit­tle Theatre stage when she was in pri­mary school, as well as her first work ex­pe­ri­ence job at the Horowhenua Chron­i­cle.

These days, A’Court per­forms up and down the coun­try, along with book tours, her weekly col­umn in the Do­min­ion Post and reg­u­lar ap­pear­ances on Ra­dio NZ Na­tional’s The Panel.

She caught up with Sadie Beckman for a chat ahead of next week­end’s show. What are your fond­est mem­o­ries of grow­ing up in Levin?

“My mother, Donna A’Court, was on the com­mit­tee of the Levin Lit­tle Theatre from be­fore I was born.

My most de­light­ful mem­o­ries are of watch­ing her on stage, hang­ing out in the dress­ing rooms back­stage, and be­ing al­lowed (if I was very well be­haved) to ex­plore the wardrobe and prop de­part­ments un­der the ea­gle eye of Trudy Black who was in charge of ev­ery­thing. Trudy was a stick­ler for good be­hav­iour, but cut me some slack be­cause I was Donna’s daugh­ter.

The theatre was al­ways a mag­i­cal place for me. I learned then that the best view in any theatre was from the stage. My first work ex­pe­ri­ence as a Welling­ton

jour­nal­ism stu­dent was a hol­i­day place­ment at the Levin Chron­i­cle. I was paid $54 for the week’s work, and spent it all on a frock. It was a re­ally nice frock.”

How has your up­bring­ing in­flu­enced your ca­reer and com­edy style?

“My grand­mother, Edith Duthie, was a very witty woman — I think I picked up my sto­ry­telling style from her.

My daugh­ter — now a mother her­self and read­ing Win­nie the Pooh to her chil­dren, now says my sense of hu­mour owes a lot to AA Milne. It is, how­ever, less suit­able for chil­dren’s par­ties than this might sug­gest.” What is your favourite type of gig? Large or small?

“Big gigs are eas­ier — if com­edy was surf­ing, a big room gives you a big wave to ride. But small gigs are like a con­ver­sa­tion — you have to work harder to make the sto­ries sound real and feel authen­tic.

That’s a big­ger chal­lenge, but it’s re­ally sat­is­fy­ing when it flies.”

Does the idea of per­form­ing on the stage you first per­formed on in pri­mary school feel strange, or like a full-cir­cle? “To be hon­est, I feel a bit emo­tional about it. This is the place I started, and

where I first started dream­ing about mak­ing a life on the stage. So there is a sense of some­thing — com­ple­tion? Com­ing home? — about stand­ing on that par­tic­u­lar stage again af­ter so many years.

My mother and I vis­ited Levin ear­lier this year and spent an af­ter­noon with Jo­ce­lyn White­house who di­rected me in plays there when I was a teenager and Joyce Cor­rin — who was and is on the com­mit­tee — and we had very spe­cial time.

I owe those three women the whole she­bang, re­ally. I don’t think any of us knew what I would end up do­ing as a per­former. But I know that I’m re­ally happy with the way things turned out.

Wouldn’t change a thing.” What can we ex­pect from your set at Levin Com­edy Club?

I never de­cide what I am do­ing un­til the night I do it. Be­fore a show, I make a list of things I might talk about, and then I see what feels right once I’m out on stage and talk­ing to the peo­ple in the room. The only thing I can say for sure is that, one way or an­other, I’m go­ing to try to make it count.

The Levin Com­edy Club show will also fea­ture 2018 Na­tional Raw Com­edy Quest run­ner up Sean Col­lier and fi­nal­ist Dan Alexan­der, as well as up-and-com­ing Palmer­ston North co­me­dian Molly Malone. It will be MCd by 2017 Billy T nom­i­nee Patch Lam­bert, a reg­u­lar fix­ture through­out the Welling­ton and Auck­land com­edy scenes, win­ner of the 2016 NZ Com­edy Guild Break­through Co­me­dian Award and a writer on TV3’s 7 Days.

The event has been or­gan­ised with sup­port from the Horowhenua Dis­trict Coun­cil’s Cre­ative Com­mu­ni­ties Scheme. Tick­ets are $25 from or $30 at the door.

Early book­ings are rec­om­mended.

Co­me­dian Michele A’Court is per­form­ing in Levin.

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