Back on Stage WITH A PIANO! F*@k off FEAR!

Image is Jacci standing behind a stage piano, mid song, at Pride of Our Footscray Community Bar, with a colourful mural background.

Being back on stage for Midsumma Festival was awesome – particularly as I faced one of my biggest, life long fears by doing so. That fear was of playing piano and singing in front of a crowd. I also got to share a green room with some awesome people for Pride of Our Footscray Community Bar‘s comedy event “You Can’t Say That in Front of Your Father”.

I battle imposter syndrome and gut wrenching anxiety every time I get on stage and the thought of singing on stage was mortifying prior to 2019.

Then I did some work with Richard Lawton, the author of Raise Your Voice, and it changed everything. If you are battling a fear of speaking or singing, I strongly recommend his book or classes.

I battled messaging from my childhood that says artist pursuits are not valuable or acceptable. But it’s part of who I am and it took until my mid 40’s to overcome those fears and just decide to do it anyway.

And one of the biggest bags I carried around was wanting to learn to play piano and being told, “only smart people play piano and your little fingers will not let you”. Family criticism of my singing voice stopped me singing in choirs and other public places from about ten years old.

I faced it the first time in front of a large audience for a show called Tickets on Myself on opening night of Melbourne Fringe 2019. Then of course…lockdown…and workplace injury stopped me in my tracks.

I am also doing a PhD and so performing is taking a back seat, but it’s still in the car with me!

Whilst I have been singing on stage for a while now, it’s been sporadic and terror filled. So at Midsumma I performed my first song composition after some piano lessons with the incredible Spencer Hughes booked through Scarlett Music. Spencer was so patient with me. The song is a rudimentary tune but fun. Two out of four performances I felt like I killed it, the other two not as happy with, but still well received. But I also got great crowd feedback.

I am often surrounded by other performers who look at me like I’ve got two heads for talking about these fears. And I admit that I wish it had been natural and encouraged throughout my early life so I could feel like they do about performing, instead of carrying this awfully heavy baggage, like I have throughout my life. But that baggage is much lighter now, and may soon just be a handbag instead of a costume trunk.

But being back on stage was awesome and I have to say, I am glad I didn’t give it all up after the last 12 months of recovering from a workplace injury. Performing online and on community TV during that time helped my recovery enormously.

But this was pretty special. And fear can go fuck off.

And now, in honour of this triumph over childhood fear – I am about to relaunch my solo show, including three comedy songs and poetry and story and stand-up! Tardy: Ready and Disabled | Melbourne Fringe

So, Tardy: Ready and Disabled is coming back for one night only! To Fringe Common Rooms (Old Ballroom, Victorian Trades Hall).

Please come along! Particularly if you are interested in disability pride!

Where: Fringe Common Rooms, in the Ballroom (Victorian Trades Hall).

When: Wednesday 23rd June, doors at 7 pm for show start at 7.30 pm. AUSLAN. Relaxed performance for those of us on spectrum – there will be room to move.

How to book online: Tardy: Ready and Disabled | Melbourne Fringe

On the FRINGE!

So I hummed and haaed about doing Melbourne Fringe this year. But decided what the heck! I am, of course, happiest on the fringes of mainstream culture, so why not, right?

So I have made a special mash up show from everything I have done with a BIG TARGET OF ABLEISM!

It’s online and so available all over the globe! Book at the festival website in the link below…

My Melbourne Fringe show is live and online (all over the globe!) Part audio visual, part musical, part storytelling and rubbishing all the stereotypes and ableist slurs (without using them!). If you think ableism should burn in hell but still want the right to insult people who deserve it, this show is for you.

Join Jacci, a nonbinary, neurodivergent truth bomber and occasional anthropologist in the comedy therapy circle for a quirky, comedy conversation. The show is presented as an autist’s not-so-anonymous meeting in the art of being literal and the politics of autism diagnoses for people born with vaginas.

“You’re a bit tardy”…isn’t that derived from R… Remember the R word? Let’s burn it down! Queer. Autistic. Veteran. Late to the party. Late bloomer. Late diagnosed. But NOT TARDY. Jacci Pillar was born to be late, then bullied by people who hurried and messed everything up.

#melbournefringe #melbfringe

Comedy and NOT Hiding in Plain Sight.

“Hiding in plain sight”.  I feel that until I was 45 that is exactly what I was doing.  Then I found the joy of performing comedy.

My father’s father was a iron monger.

My mother’s father was a house painter.

My father’s mother was a milliner.

My mother’s mother was a “housewife” aka as business manager of a house painting business.

Working class.  Blue collar.  Not that Australian’s like to think we have classes.  But we do.

I work in the white collar field of anthropology, I am a writer and a performer. I travel lots. I don’t aspire to the same way of life my grandparents did and most certainly not to a “settled or domestic life”.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved and admired both sets of grandparents and appreciate how different their lives were and that many of the choices I have were limited to them or not available at all.  So, the motivations for how they lived had to be different as a matter of course.  However, some of my ancestors would not have chosen a different course even if it is available to them – of that I am sure.

Yesterday I walked through the Melbourne CBD, where I will be working in the near future – thinking how very different I am to the last two generations of my family.

None of them wore parts of the female anatomy on stage.  *Yes, I sometimes do wear a large costume on stage that is to do with women’s reproductive rights – but not always*

None of them went to university.  They only travelled because of war.  How very lucky I am and how very grateful to my ancestors I am.

And exactly how much my hiding in plain sight was linked to the identities of my grandparents and perhaps much further back than that. 

We now know that some of our inter-generational behaviours are genetic – so that explains some of how difficult it is to be different from our forebears.

It also explains something for me about how different my course is – but how fundamentally similar it is.  I will always work in jobs that fight for the underdog, the battlers and for those who experience disadvantage.  Those are my social and genetic roots.

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Thank you to the Melbourne Observer for featuring my show! Read the whole edition (and me on page 51.) online at http://melbobserver.com.au/wp/

This might explain why we might feel as though we are “hiding in plain sight”.  Trying to blend in where we don’t really feel we do.  I think this is the source of much unhappiness for many people.

We need to stop hiding in plain sight.  The world’s diversity is it’s greatest gift.  

Stop it.  Stop it now.

Be who you are.

I am no longer hiding in plain sight.

I am holding my own space – fiercely.

 

You can see my show “Labelled” at #SydneyFringe and #MelbourneFringe Festivals.

Sydney Fringe – Kings Cross Hotel – 14 & 15 September – book tickets at:

https://sydneyfringe.com/buy-tickets/?e=MTU2MzU

Melbourne Fringe – at the Hare Hole at Hares and Hyenas, Fitzroy, 24, 25 & 26 September, book your tickets at:

https://melbournefringe.com.au/event/labelled-a-comedic-story-about-stories-about-people/