How to Be a Rock Star: Gaulier-trained dynamo Tessa Waters' fast-moving Fringe show
‘Professional idiot’ Tessa Waters on telling a story through movement and getting kids to smash it out the park
This article is from 2016.
Comedian, clown and now performer / creator of children’s show How to Be a Rock Star, Tessa Waters says she has been ‘a professional idiot from day dot’. Growing up in small-town Australia, she was raised on a staple diet of Hollywood slapstick, big dance numbers and Bette Midler. Her true joy, however, lay somewhere between Mr Bean and Shirley Bassey. ‘I did try to be a serious actor for a while but was never accepted into the fold,’ she insists. ‘Even when I tried to be serious something funny would happen and it would all fall apart. It’s important to accept and embrace who you are and I’ve never looked back.’
Having spent half a decade on the comedy circuit, she took herself off to Paris to study clowning with Philippe Gaulier in 2014. The relocation was inspired partly by the idea of spending a year living in a place where, ‘it’s OK to eat a whole wheel of cheese every day’, but more by the fact that her own move into physical and visual comedy had left her hungry to learn again and to challenge herself.
‘Moving, wobbling, grooving and dancing make me feel amazing,’ she says. ‘I love watching someone tell a story just through their movement; it allows your brain to dream around the story they’re telling and brings a different kind of depth to your experience of the show.’
One of Waters' favourite parts of How to Be a Rock Star is when she gets the kids to create their own ‘signature dance move’ that celebrates ‘who they are and how they feel about their bodies. It is so inspiring to see them just smash it out of the park every time. Then there’s the joy on their faces when everyone in the audience learns their move!’
How to Be a Rock Star, Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square, 0131 623 3030, 6–29 Aug (not 17), 3.15pm, £8 (£6). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £5.