Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020

Maude Davey - Week 11

Tristan Meecham

Grab your tassels, focus the spot because today we welcome an Australian cabaret legend, performer, actor, mentor, known throughout the land for her activism, vitality and generosity. Maude Davey, welcome to In The Groove!

Maude Davey

Hi Tristan, how are you? Great to be here.

Tristan Meecham

What is it about the form of cabaret that provides performers with such vitality and what is it about the art that you love so very much?

Maude Davey

I thought I was going to be a real actor, you know, television, film, fame. Actually, the most exciting stuff I ever did was working in weird, queer clubs back in the very late ‘80s and early ‘90s. What I love about cabaret is short form. You take one idea and you mine it hard and you push it out and it enables a kind of revelation of different ways of seeing familiar things.

Tristan Meecham

Maude, you’re also known for your solo work, My life in the nude, which is a vital perspective that challenges ageism and sexism. What is it about this solo show that is so special for you?

Maude Davey

It was the year I turned 50 and I wanted to – I decided that I couldn’t take my clothes off onstage anymore because I was 50 because that’s what you think. So, I decided that I would do an autobiographical retrospective and say goodbye to all that work, you know, this is the final time I’d be taking my clothes off onstage. That was an empty promise. I’ve gone on to perform that show over and over and over again and it never gets old.

Tristan Meecham

One of the things you mentioned about the form of cabaret is its ability to hone an idea or a concept. Does art have to relate to a politic or can it just be entertaining? Do you think that art needs to send a message to its audience?

Maude Davey

That’s a very interesting question. It always does, even if the message is just “relax, everything’s comfortable, you don’t have to change, you don’t have to think”. I’m much more interested in art that shows us something different or new or difficult. I don’t like horror movies. I don’t need those images in my head but I do like things that make me uncomfortable. Cabaret is about holding you safe. Keeping you feeling good about being here and then just twisting it a little bit and going “yeah, but look at that” or something, you know. That’s what I love about cabaret. It cherishes its audience. It cares for its audience but it is able also to challenge its audience.


 

Tristan Meecham

You’re also a phenomenal actress and, these days, you’ve spent a lot of time investing and directing and teaching the next generation of Australian performance makers. Why is this so important for you?

Maude Davey

I’m really interesting in staying – keeping my brain sharp. Trying to stay current. Trying to stay up with what young people are thinking. I teach – a lot of the people that I teach approach me afterwards to work with them. I’m really interested in the way gender is being redefined, the way identity is being redefined by young people. How they see themselves, how they see their relationship to the world and so, me working on people’s projects, it – it’s - it keeps me vital. It keeps me alive. It keeps me young.

Tristan Meecham

Despite the fact that you’re not performing as much these days, the VSF audience are very lunch to have a bespoke performance – a vital performance that you have created specifically for In The Groove. Can you introduce this work and why you’ve created it today?

Maude Davey

I am going to perform PJ Harvey’s amazing song, Man-size and Peter Farnan, my very good friend and rock star has made the track for me. I have always been interested in gender and how it is that this body is female and that body is male and the slippage between them. That’s one of the kind of signatures of my work.

[Maude Davey, singing Man-size]

I'm coming up man-sized skinned alive
I want to fit I've got to get Man-sized
I'm heading on Handsome
I’ve got my leather boots on
Got my girl. She's a wow
I cast my iron knickers down
Man-sized no need to shout
Can you hear, can you hear me now
I'm man-sized. Man sized. Man sized

I'll measure time, I'll measure height
I'll calculate my birth-right
Good Lord, I'm big, I'm heading on
Man-sized, Ooh I got my leather boots on
Got my girl. She's a wow
I cast my iron knickers down
Man-sized, no need to shout
Can you hear, can you hear me now
My babe looking cool and neat
Pretty sure good enough to eat
Man-sized no need to shout
Let it all, let it all hang out
I’m man-sized. Man-sized
I’m man-sized. Man-sized
Man-sized. Man-sized
Man-sized. Man-sized. Man-sized.

Silence my lady head
Get girl out of my head
Douse hair with gasoline
Set it light and set it free
Silence my lady head
Get girl out of my head
Douse hair with gasoline
Set it light and set it free

 

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Maude Davey is famous for her burlesque shows but she will be performing fully clothed for the Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined.

 

Read her Performer Profile.

 

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An online Festival is completely new for us and we hope you enjoy the performances.

Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020

Maude Davey - Week 11

Tristan Meecham

Grab your tassels, focus the spot because today we welcome an Australian cabaret legend, performer, actor, mentor, known throughout the land for her activism, vitality and generosity. Maude Davey, welcome to In The Groove!

Maude Davey

Hi Tristan, how are you? Great to be here.

Tristan Meecham

What is it about the form of cabaret that provides performers with such vitality and what is it about the art that you love so very much?

Maude Davey

I thought I was going to be a real actor, you know, television, film, fame. Actually, the most exciting stuff I ever did was working in weird, queer clubs back in the very late ‘80s and early ‘90s. What I love about cabaret is short form. You take one idea and you mine it hard and you push it out and it enables a kind of revelation of different ways of seeing familiar things.

Tristan Meecham

Maude, you’re also known for your solo work, My life in the nude, which is a vital perspective that challenges ageism and sexism. What is it about this solo show that is so special for you?

Maude Davey

It was the year I turned 50 and I wanted to – I decided that I couldn’t take my clothes off onstage anymore because I was 50 because that’s what you think. So, I decided that I would do an autobiographical retrospective and say goodbye to all that work, you know, this is the final time I’d be taking my clothes off onstage. That was an empty promise. I’ve gone on to perform that show over and over and over again and it never gets old.

Tristan Meecham

One of the things you mentioned about the form of cabaret is its ability to hone an idea or a concept. Does art have to relate to a politic or can it just be entertaining? Do you think that art needs to send a message to its audience?

Maude Davey

That’s a very interesting question. It always does, even if the message is just “relax, everything’s comfortable, you don’t have to change, you don’t have to think”. I’m much more interested in art that shows us something different or new or difficult. I don’t like horror movies. I don’t need those images in my head but I do like things that make me uncomfortable. Cabaret is about holding you safe. Keeping you feeling good about being here and then just twisting it a little bit and going “yeah, but look at that” or something, you know. That’s what I love about cabaret. It cherishes its audience. It cares for its audience but it is able also to challenge its audience.


 

Tristan Meecham

You’re also a phenomenal actress and, these days, you’ve spent a lot of time investing and directing and teaching the next generation of Australian performance makers. Why is this so important for you?

Maude Davey

I’m really interesting in staying – keeping my brain sharp. Trying to stay current. Trying to stay up with what young people are thinking. I teach – a lot of the people that I teach approach me afterwards to work with them. I’m really interested in the way gender is being redefined, the way identity is being redefined by young people. How they see themselves, how they see their relationship to the world and so, me working on people’s projects, it – it’s - it keeps me vital. It keeps me alive. It keeps me young.

Tristan Meecham

Despite the fact that you’re not performing as much these days, the VSF audience are very lunch to have a bespoke performance – a vital performance that you have created specifically for In The Groove. Can you introduce this work and why you’ve created it today?

Maude Davey

I am going to perform PJ Harvey’s amazing song, Man-size and Peter Farnan, my very good friend and rock star has made the track for me. I have always been interested in gender and how it is that this body is female and that body is male and the slippage between them. That’s one of the kind of signatures of my work.

[Maude Davey, singing Man-size]

I'm coming up man-sized skinned alive
I want to fit I've got to get Man-sized
I'm heading on Handsome
I’ve got my leather boots on
Got my girl. She's a wow
I cast my iron knickers down
Man-sized no need to shout
Can you hear, can you hear me now
I'm man-sized. Man sized. Man sized

I'll measure time, I'll measure height
I'll calculate my birth-right
Good Lord, I'm big, I'm heading on
Man-sized, Ooh I got my leather boots on
Got my girl. She's a wow
I cast my iron knickers down
Man-sized, no need to shout
Can you hear, can you hear me now
My babe looking cool and neat
Pretty sure good enough to eat
Man-sized no need to shout
Let it all, let it all hang out
I’m man-sized. Man-sized
I’m man-sized. Man-sized
Man-sized. Man-sized
Man-sized. Man-sized. Man-sized.

Silence my lady head
Get girl out of my head
Douse hair with gasoline
Set it light and set it free
Silence my lady head
Get girl out of my head
Douse hair with gasoline
Set it light and set it free