DEVIL WOMAN Comes to The Melbourne Fringe
From the age of 8 up until she was 16, Clare Dea busked every weekend at her local shopping centre in order to put herself through dance school. However, her chosen path as performer was going to be a challenging one as Clare was born with a rare congenital disease called Poland's syndrome. Commonly referred to as the shame disease, Clare was born without her left pectoral muscle and never developed her left breast. By the time she was 14 she had a fully developed right breast and was heading into the throes of puberty armed with a malformed chest and a plummeting confidence level. At 15 her parents, who were now about her mental health, decided to invest in major surgery which involved a muscle transplant and the insertion of a breast expander. This was followed by another surgery at the age of 21, to finally complete her transition to a woman with two breasts. Clare has put her remarkable story into a one woman cabaret show called, Devil Woman for the upcoming Melbourne Fringe Festival which is due to open at the Butterfly Club on the 23rd September 2019.
Even after all her surgeries and with two equally weighted breasts Clare still felt like a freak. The reality was even though her body had changed, her relationship with her body had not. She spent the next 10 years continuing to hide her secret from everyone in order to pursue her lifelong dream of being a performer. This included relationships with men, including one that lasted 4 years. By the time she was 28 she still hadn't told anyone about her condition. One night she finally confessed to a new lover, she spent the next 8 months crying herself to sleep, before finally seeking help.
Poland's syndrome is a congenital malformation affecting the chest muscle and hand on one side of the body. The cause of this is still not known, and treatment includes reconstructive surgery and possibly implantation of bioengineered tissue. Poland's syndrome is twice as likely to involve the right side of the body and experts currently are reporting an incidence of one in 10,000 to one in 100,000 live births. For reasons unknown, boys are more likely than girls to have Poland syndrome.
Clare says, "After years of wearing masks and keeping secrets, performing 'Devil Woman' will set me free. Very excited to share this transformational one woman show at The Melbourne Fringe Festival to help others love their imperfections."
Clare's show delves into her uncomfortable, yet remarkably relatable experience with Poland's syndrome. The show will resonate with those of us who have grappled with self-love, body issues, and examine how these things can stop us from feeling confident to pursue our dreams.