Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Naked on Stage
How's that for a provocative blog title?
Okay so I'm not planning on taking my clothes off in front of an audience, but before you sue me under the trade descriptions act, there are other sorts of naked.
I'm going to go naked-voiced on stage on 10 May. At Cabaret Confidential's first night in its new Canary Wharf home I'm going to be singing without a microphone for the first time since I was a choir girl - which was a lot longer ago than I'm prepared to admit.
London's Cabaret Godfather Paul L Martin says that The Space has incredible acoustics because it's a converted chapel, so none of us will need mics. But many of his other acts are musical theatre performers, used to belting out showtunes at full volume whilst dashing across the stage under hot lights in period costumes carrying a fellow cast-member. I'm just a lazy little jazzer used to moaning gently into an SM58 and letting the lucky soul on the sound desk pick up the slack.
Time to remind my diaphragm it exists, I think. It's ten years since my singing teacher drilled me through my scales and introduced me to the mysteries of Resonance, and many of the parts of my body she once pressed into service for making a big noise come out of me have long since gone back to sleep. I'm going for a refresher lesson next week with the lovely mister Richard Link, who says that what I have to do to make my voice carry is make a clean sound, without any air in it. Because the air is like white noise, interfering with the signal. I'm not 100% sure I get what he means, but I'm guessing it's something to do with singing less like Marilyn Monroe.
The question is, can I make my voice loud enough to carry without a mic, and still sound like Tricity Vogue? It's always worth trying something a bit different in my book, so I'm looking forward to the challenge. Plus it's a long time since anybody let me sing inside a church (even a converted one).
And while we're on the subject of trying new things, the lovely Crimson Skye was telling me I ought to give burlesque a go on Friday night... she says the first thing is to find a great song, one that makes you think 'yeah, I want to take my clothes off to that'. She does her act to The Doors 20th Century Girl, and Jimmi Hendrix Foxy Lady. I know what song I'd do my burlesque striptease to - if Beloved would allow me to do a burlesque striptease in a million years. But he is being very firm on the matter (and he's very sexy when he's being firm on the matter, I can tell you) so I will of course be respecting his wishes, and giving up on my fantasy to come on stage dressed as a nun to the strains of Johnny Cash singing Your Own Personal Jesus, then remove my habit to reveal devil horns and a basque underneath, just as the music segues into the Depeche Mode version of the song...
Shame, it was a cracker of an act. And I bet Stephane would enjoy designing the costume too.
But Dusty Limits said something very wise on Friday along the lines of the fact that being physically naked isn't really revealing that much in this day and age, and a really daring striptease is an emotional one, when a performer reveals the truth about themselves. I think that was the jist of it - I was onto my third glass of champagne by then and everything was very sparkly and fizzy - but it rings true to me. That's what great cabaret singing - in fact great singing full stop - is really all about. Emotional striptease.
So that's the kind of naked I'm going to aspire to on stage.