BWW Interview: Dawn Pascoe Wants Us To Celebrate Ourselves, FLAWS & ALL, At Fringe World 2018

BWW Interview: Dawn Pascoe Wants Us To Celebrate Ourselves, FLAWS & ALL, At Fringe World 2018Perth performer Dawn Pascoe wants us to celebrate ourselves - FLAWS & ALL! Broadway World caught up with her ahead of her solo Fringe World show and got the lowdown on circus, social media, and what it's like to eat a whole cake onstage.

You've been involved with circus for quite some years now. What was it about circus that initially drew you to the form?

It was the physical side initially, that I was capable of doing these cool things - things I didn't know my body was actually capable of. And then once I really started exploring that it was how to push those skills to create stories. I've got a huge background in theatre and dance and I was so driven to be an actor and a performer and a creator that when I realised the two could marry together it was just a dream come true. You've got this beautiful, physical, technical side and then the storytelling as well. I love finding new ways that my body can move to tell the story.

There are a lot of bigger, ensemble circus acts at Fringeworld this year. What is the advantage of seeing a solo circus show like yours instead?

You get the intimate details. Not just the facial expressions, but the intricacies of the movement can be really detailed, and it makes the story more complex. You get to see every emotion, every bead of sweat, every thought that performer has. You can go a lot deeper into the experience I guess rather than just the big spectacle where you're kind of overwhelmed by everything going on - it's a bit more contained and focussed.

How difficult is it to devise an entirely solo circus piece?

I've been working as a duo for a really long time, I've done quite a lot of solo work before but I haven't done one for a while and it's actually really cool going into a studio by myself and just having no outside influences. I got a director onboard later on in the show but initially it was just me, my thoughts, my creative process, my choreography, just moving around and seeing what looks good.

There's of course hard times when you're in the studio by yourself and the inspiration isn't coming. I mean that's half the job, you have to show up, you have to go through the paces, even when you don't want to. Then when you're really tired and at the end of the session something might happen that's gold. Or maybe sometimes it doesn't, but at least you showed up went through the paces and you still did the work. And then the next rehearsal generally you'll be really inspired again.

The character you play in Flaws & All - would you say that she's more autobiographical, or is she drawn from a mixture of places?

BWW Interview: Dawn Pascoe Wants Us To Celebrate Ourselves, FLAWS & ALL, At Fringe World 2018Funny, the other day at my rehearsal I did a full run through and I was going "Jeez, these characters are really not like me at all. Maybe I need to add in some of my flaws into the show?" She's got a problem with alcohol for example, eating a whole cake at a time, and I'm like...I don't do that? I don't have a problem with cake at all! She's flawed in various ways. It's definitely not me, but there are some of mine that kind of creep in there too. The audience has to kind of wonder which ones are mine and which ones aren't.

Flaws & All is about the idea of making visible the things that we try our best to keep hidden away from the world. What is your take on the culture of social media sharing, and the tension between who we really are, and who we pretend to be online?

Not consciously, but yes that's something I feel quite strongly about. You really only post when you're happy or you're on holidays or you've got something to share that you're proud of. It's really a snapshot of the best part of you - or the best part you think of yourself. And it's really easy when you're not at the top of your game to look through things and think "Oh jeez they're smashing it, and I'm just sitting at home right now with my kid and she's having a tantrum!" It's really easy to get into that mindset that you're not good enough, you don't look good enough, you don't feel good enough, you're not eating the right food. There's so many things that you get upset about.

Would you say that Flaws & All has been influenced by the recent trend of 'confessional' social media posts?

No, I haven't really got into that. It's a great concept! I love the moment in my show where I've taken all my makeup off - and its quite grotesque makeup - and my face is a mess and I get into my undies and show them my cellulite bits and you know, it's just me, myself onstage after going through this journey. From the cake to putting makeup all over her face to drinking a whole can of beer. And then I just sit myself there and show my true self. There is a moment of me onstage, going "This is me, this is who I am take it or leave it." and just being really proud of who I am in this moment. Which...I wish everyone could have that - have a whole bunch of strangers looking at you in your underwear and accepting you for you. How great would that be? I don't know if I'd like it every day, but to have that acceptance from yourself and that acceptance from others is a beautiful thing.

What is your favourite part of doing this show?

Eating a whole cake onstage. Without a doubt. It's a four-layer sponge cake, I started with a cupcake and then I was like, "This is not making enough mess! I want more mess!" That's the other favourite thing in the show, just getting grotty. I've performed a lot as a beautiful trapeze artist, someone with stunning lines and beautiful costumes, not a hair out of place, makeup perfect. So for me to get really grotty onstage is just heaven for me. I stick my belly out, let people see that even people who look "perfect" have all this stuff going on too. I'm flawed as well!

What is your least favourite part of doing this show?

Coming offstage by myself and not having someone to go "Hey wasn't that great?" or "Did you see that guy in the audience? What was that part of the show about?" and have a laugh about it. So generally now I come offstage and then I run around to the front and see people as they come out of the show to have a bit of interaction with the people afterwards. I really miss having that person to bounce off of before and after a show. But during a performance? I love it.

What is the most challenging aspect?

Keeping your energy high through the whole thing. You can't escape so if you're having a bad scene or a bad moment where you didn't quite hit the mark you don't have time to dwell on it. You can't beat yourself up or go backstage and go "C'mon, let's go rock the next one!" you have to just let it go and go into the next bit because you're onstage the whole time.

What is the most interesting, surprising or downright weird response you've gotten from an audience member about your work?

BWW Interview: Dawn Pascoe Wants Us To Celebrate Ourselves, FLAWS & ALL, At Fringe World 2018It's got to be the cellulite comments for sure. I was at a festival and I was waiting in line to go see another show and a lady comes up to me and she goes, "I just saw your show, I thought it was amazing! How brave and beautiful to see someone else's cellulite onstage, I thought that was great!" At the time I thought I had a rocking body. I was exercising heaps, I'd had my baby about a year and a half before and I was like "Yes! I'm back in my pre-baby body!" so when she said that I thought, "I've got cellulite? Oh no!" But then I thought no, you're right, to have these flaws on display - what better way to do it? It was weird to begin with but now it's really lovely.

There's a lot of international circus acts at Fringeworld this year. What makes yours different and why should people come and see it?

It's the intimate nature, it's the choreography, it's movement that people will not see in another show, it's the creativity behind it, it's the character. It's all of my background built into one so it's dance, circus, physical theatre, the genuine girl on a stage saying "Here I am and some of these are my flaws and some of these are the flaws from other people and hey, they're okay. It doesn't really matter." I suppose that's the thing I want people to take away from it, to look at their own lives and go "I could do better and I'm not perfect" but then to look at other people and go "well they're not perfect either, so maybe it's okay for me to not be perfect?" Imagine if we all treated each other that way? How much better we'd feel, and how much better the world would be. I don't know if that's too much for a show to say, but I'm really passionate about the topic. And about performing a comedy! I suppose that's the big difference, it's not serious at all. It's really comical it's really fun. Just take a chance, take a punt, and I'll give it my darndest red hot go to give you a good night!

Natural Wings presents: Flaws & All

19-24 February, 2018

The Black Flamingo; Fringe World Pleasure Garden

Tickets from $25 (Mon 19 and Tues 20 are preview shows with $18 tickets)

For more information and to book tickets head to

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From This Author Ellin Sears

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