Madame Natalia Q&A
By: Crimson Cookie
CC: You are not only an actress, dancer and singer, but you are also a writer! What styles of writing interest you and what do you enjoy to write?
MN: I’ve always had a penchant for the dark side of life and exploring the depths of that through my writing. When I was 11 years old my mother gave me a copy of ‘Flowers in the Attic,’ a gothic horror novel filled with sex, violence, incest, rape, murder and all sorts of goodies that everyone is fascinated with but no one ever really wants to delve into. That’s where I reside…I’m not interested in the fuzzy and shallow, sugar-coated prettiness of existence. I like to get inside the core of people’s souls and poke around in those shadowed corners where fear, lust, love and hate hide. I’ll drag my readers kicking and screaming into their own subconscious if I have to…but I can play nice if it suits the occasion. There’s something to be said for comedy and fun- those little sugar-coated cookies laced with arsenic I read about at 11.
CC: How does it feel to be the 2010 regular addition of ‘Burlesque Bar’? Discuss.
MN: Hehe, the same way it felt last year and probably a little like the way it’s gonna feel in 2011. I trotted in their upon request in mid-June 2009 to sing a cabaret song for a show, and am now Entertainment Manager, PR & Marketing, website and flyer designer, facebook guru and for all intents and purposes-according to the bar’s directors- the ‘face’ of the Burlesque Bar. It’s kind of disturbing when you think about it, there’s some pretty nice faces out there and they went and chose mine. But it’s an honour and a privilege that I don’t take lightly…they’ve given me a kingdom and allowed me to create with them a decadent little world that is rare in this day and age…how could a girl say no?
CC: Is it difficult to read or hear about your acts often being quite controversial? Discuss.
MN: It never ceases to amaze me that people find what I say and do controversial- more from the perspective that I’ve been so desensitised to most things in life that nothing really shocks me any more, so I’m surprised when it shocks others. Regardless, it’s not really why I do or say things. I’m no Lady Gaga wearing an outfit made of meat for a publicity stunt, I like to have meaning and purpose behind whatever I say or do. When creating shows for Atrocity- Burlesque and Cabaret du Grand Guignol, the focus is not so much on ‘what can we do to shock people,’ but ‘what are we trying to say, what message are we trying to convey and what is the most effective way to communicate this so that people really get it.’ Sometimes, as my partner Paul says, you have to hit people over the head with a shovel before they pay attention. People can accuse someone of being controversial or exploitative, but if that person knows the reasons behind what they say and do, then it shouldn’t be an issue. Basically, everyone can say what they like…I know what I’m about and I know what I’m trying to achieve.
CC: What kinds of reactions do you generally get from the crowds, when you perform?
MN: It depends on the show that I’m doing. The ‘Madame Natalia’ shows at Burlesque Bar are all in fun- though I love to throw someone a proverbial kick in the balls every now and again too. The reactions to these shows are almost always positive- people have a great night and a good laugh…and they often come back for more! I like that- entertaining people- I share my light and extract my own pound of flesh…everybody gives, it’s a nice little arrangement. And the performers that I work with are just amazing- the advantage of being the one to choose the acts that I work with is that it allows me to specifically cater the evening to my liking and to what I know the audience will adore. As for Atrocity- it often leaves people mortified…nine times out of ten we get very little in the way of reactions as the show unfolds (aside from the occasional people crying or fainting), but the rare few who hang about afterwards to chat with us are always very appreciative, very positive and they love to discuss the nitty gritty of the shows concepts. It’s certainly very rewarding, either way.
CC: Did you have to obtain certain qualifications or undergo training of sorts for fulfil your career path?
MN: Haha, no! My initial career path was preschool teaching. I was studying to do this and in my final year when I happened upon a local theatre group holding auditions for a musical. I’d always wanted to try theatre so I went along and got a lead role…it all just kind of snowballed from there. There’s this wonderful thing called ‘Theatre Depression’ that attacks you after you’ve done an intensive period of rehearsals, then shows…and then it just stops. You don’t know what to do with yourself, so you do another show…then another. And now, here I am.
CC: A quote on theatrepeople.com.au, mentions your performance skills of expression in a review: ‘Atrocity – Burlesque Du Grand Guignol’, “her greatest power lies in her expressive eyes”. Is this something that requires a lot of practice?
MN: Everyone always says that about me! I don’t know, I’m like an open book…you can always tell what I’m thinking by one look at me. I wear my heart on my sleeve…so I guess the best way to look at it is yes, it has taken a lot of practice in day to day life to be able to use that and shape it into what I want it to be. If I’m portraying a terrified child, for example, I try to get myself into that headspace…the emotion more than the character. I focus on the fear, and try to make sure that everyone around me knows I’m scared. Does that sound lame? I’m pretty sure it sounds lame.
CC: Can you give the fans a little taste of what is in store for them at your show, B&B Shuffle’s Madame Natalia’s Femmes Fatale?
MN: Mayhem! I don’t like to work with too much of a pre-arranged script…I’m basically going to strut my not-so-little ass about RB’s in knickers and see what happens. As far as I’m concerned, that whole venue is our stage and we’re looking forward to playing…with everyone! There are no rules here- no ‘oh you sit down and watch this and appreciate it cause I’m telling you to.’ The audience is as much part of the show as myself or any of the girls, and it’s important that they feel that. They should be warned, however, that we don’t always play nice…and like it or not, we’re coming to get them.
Madame Natalia will be performing as part of B&B Shuffle’s Madame Natalia’s Femmes Fatale on Nov 12th at Red Bennies.