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A Conversation with Theatre-maker Rebel Lyons about her Upcoming Cabaret SAME PENIS FOREVER

An interview with Brisbane artist Rebel Lyons

Next up on my Brisbane local artists segment is performer and cabaret artist Rebel Lyons. Rebel Lyons got married at age 24. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drama) at QUT in 2019, and was the assistant producer for Woodford Folk Festival in 2019/20. Her performance credits include A Clockwork Orange with Brisbane Arts Theatre, Z24 and B Movies Live! with Lightning Bolt Creative, the web series Deep Probe 7 with Faux Facade, performances at Wham! Bam! Cabaret Slam! and For the Record, and her one woman cooking show "Hope Ya Hungry" in Betty Grumble's variety show Grumble N' Friends. Rebel has also toured a three-person Rocky Horror Floorshow, Bogan Bingo, and ReBeL BiNgO! around Queensland, competed in the Common People Dance Project Rock Eisteddfod 2019 and 2020, and completed an internship with the Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre. Rebel Lyons got divorced at age 24, and SAME PENIS FOREVER is her debut one woman show. Here's what she had to say...

A Conversation with Theatre-maker Rebel Lyons about her Upcoming Cabaret SAME PENIS FOREVER

1. Your show SAME PENIS FOREVER will be making its debut at Backbone Youth Arts on Valentine's Day weekend, exploring the repercussions of marriage and how we're conditioned to want it long before we know what it means. What inspired you to create a show that tackles such a universal step in most people's lives?

Straight up: my divorce. My marriage lasted a whole 8 months; I was married and divorced within the age of 24. From what I've learnt since then, my absolutely horrendous experience was definitely not uncommon and yet I was far from educated or warned about the reality of marriage, because the capitalist society we live in is so invested in shoving the "wonderful wedding' and concept of "true love" down our throats from the moment we're born. This is especially true for female identifying people who are exposed to pop culture, and my show comes from a desperate need to talk about the fact that historically, marriage has been (and still is) used as tool to oppress women and regard them as property.

2. What was the creative process and how did Covid-19 and lockdown play into it?

To be completely honest, 2020 had nothing on 2019 in terms of being a hellish year (for me personally, as it was the year my marriage ended). I started taking antidepressants at the start of 2020 and finally found a stable place to live, and that, combined with being trapped in my bedroom, gave me time to myself with just my thoughts to dig deep and internally explore why my marriage failed so spectacularly. I spent countless hours discussing matrimony, monogamy and masturbation with a wide range of incredible people, figuring out the best way to open a dialogue about it through performance art with a contemporary audience. It was a bumpy ride and I've still got a lot of mental processing to do, but this show is the result of that journey and I'm looking forward to sharing it. Like a cobb loaf of sorrow and triumph.

A Conversation with Theatre-maker Rebel Lyons about her Upcoming Cabaret SAME PENIS FOREVER

3. Did you find it cathartic to create a work like this that spoke to so many women's experiences?

Writing this show was really difficult, because criticising marriage itself isn't the norm in our culture, and although the evidence seemed blaringly obvious, I had to do a lot of research to find out exactly how marriage oppresses women in the sneaky, underhanded way that it does, while still convincing us that we want it. I've put a lot of work into making sure that my show gets the right message across, so I think the catharsis will come later, if and when the audience can echo my message back to me, or at least their own interpretation of it.

4. Do you think you could pitch the show for us using three words?

Yep. SAME. PENIS. FOREVER. Because that is one way of describing marriage (traditional marriages, anyway), and is a far cry from the way marriage is usually described: "The Best Day Of Your Life", "A New Beginning", "A Celebration of Love" etc. I think if more people really thought about the fact that marriage does mean chaining yourself to the same person, the same sex, for eternity... we'd have a lot less divorces as a result of a lot less marriages.

A Conversation with Theatre-maker Rebel Lyons about her Upcoming Cabaret SAME PENIS FOREVER

5. Lastly, how can we support you and your performance making, as well as the show?

It's been said before and I'll say it again... Come see my show! Bring that engaged couple you know, that in the back of your mind you secretly think don't stand a chance! Bring your grandma who keeps asking whether you've "FoUnD aNyOnE yEt"! Bring your work mates, your kids, your Dad's physio! And after the show come and say hello and tell me what you think of it, I genuinely want to know!

Show: Same Penis Forever

Written and performed by Rebel Lyons


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