Midsumma at Theatre Works: Margie Fischer

Theatre Works final show for Midsumma is Margie Fischer‘s most recent work, The Dead Ones, and she has a chat to Anne-Marie Peard.

Margie is a writer and performer who founded Feast, Adelaide’s Queer Festival, and  describes describes herself as a very funny Jewish lesbian. This show’s about what happened when everyone in her family died and she was left to clear out their house.

It was first produced by Adelaide’s wonderful Vitalstatistix, who have been creating and supporting feminist and gender aware theatre and art since 1984, when they formed as Australia’s only full-time women’s theatre company, and continue to produce new Australian performance and live art that’s provocative, distinctive and informed.

Margie Fischer, The Dead Ones
Margie Fischer, The Dead Ones

Describe you show in three words
A must see.

Why shouldn’t anyone miss your show?
Because the subject matter and experiences explored in this show haven’t been seen before

Will anyone hate it?
Yes, anyone who thought they were coming to see naked burlesque, circus or stand up comedy. But then they won’t have read the publicity.

What other Midsumma show(s) will you NOT miss?
All the other shows at Theatre Works!
Bent Burlesque, Finucaine and Smith’s Caravan Burlesque, Between The Cracks, Gaybies, Monologues of a Deaf Woman.

Midsumma is 25 this year. What do you remember most about being 25?
Being under confident in all I did.

Midsumma is also about celebrating queer culture. What does your show celebrate?
It celebrates my family’s extraordinary stories though my Jewish lesbian heart and mind.

As The Dead Ones is about clearing your family house, what is something you’d like to leave behind?
My tendency to be anxious, I used to call it neurotic until my psychiatrist said it was anxiety. 

What is something we should make sure that we never leave behind?
A sense of humour, the ability to embrace difference and fight against injustice.

Apart from the Midsumma, what festival would you love to be a part of?
Well, I have long been part of the Feast Festival so I already have loved being part of this brilliant queer Festival.

I would love my show to be part of the Sydney Festival.  I grew up in Sydney so being part of this big mainstream shebang would be excellent. The Opera House is my preferred venue.

What was the first festival you were a part of?
The Surry Hills Community Festival in Sydney in the 70s, the first one which I was part of initiating.

What else are you looking forward to doing on your trip to Melbourne?
Going to Acland Street, going to Hares and Hyenas, having a sea bath, meeting lots of Jews, lesbians and other queer people who come to my show, working with my fabulous director Catherine Fitzgerald, perfoming at Theatre Works.

If you could invite anyone to see your show (and you know they would come), who would it be?
The entire Jewish population of Melbourne – that’s a lot of people!! The entire theatre going lesbian population of Melbourne, and everyone else who goes to theatre in Melbourne.

If you mean one person, then whoever would pick up my show for the Sydney Festival.

What is the best theatre advice you’ve received?
Keep going.

What’s the worst and/or best thing a reviewer has said about you or your show?
The best thing is the review I got for The Dead Ones in The Australian which said: “Fischer’s signature, right back to the early days of her theatre company Vitalstatistix, has always been sharp and zany – perceptive, full of feeling, but finding a lightness to express the darkness, stealing a wry smile from adversity.”

What’s your favourite gelati flavour?
Blood orange.

What was the last film you loved?
Oedipus Wrecks by Woody Allen. It is a short film I saw last night on DVD and it made me laugh a lot.   

What’s the best thing to do when it’s over 40° and you don’t have air conditioning?
Find somewhere that has air conditioning

What work changed how you make theatre? Why?
Yiddish comedy CDs. Why because I realised what I spoke at home was Yiddish, that it was funny, and I was funny in the way Yiddish comedy is funny.

What director/actor/writer/creator would you just die to work with?
I am working on The Dead Ones with the director I always wanted to work with: Catherine Fitzgerald. I would also love to work again with Rosalba Clemente, who directed my show The Gay Divorcee.

What do love most about your show?
The beautiful projected images that go with the text throughout the show.

The Dead Ones
29 January – 3 February
Theatre Works

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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