I wrote and performed my first solo monologue for the Adelaide Fringe in 2018. In that show, Pearls, I told the story of my mum’s strange pearls of wisdom. In the second show, The Forgettory, I explored the meaning of family memory. In An Evening With the Vegetarian Librarian, I created a much more light-hearted piece telling the story of how a librarian became a funeral celebrant (well, one version of it anyway).
These monologues have marked a significant change in the direction of my work. When I started writing Pearls I was intending to write a conventional memoir for publication. However, the more I wrote, the more I realised I was writing a piece for performance. It was a bit scary (terrifying) deciding to put on a show. I have dabbled in stand-up, but I had never written for theatre and I hadn’t acted since I was Grandpa Joe in Port Pirie Youth Theatre’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But it’s been worth every scary (terrifying) second. Learning how to perform has given me a whole new way to see my writing.
Each piece has been debuted at the Adelaide Fringe, but I have also performed short seasons outside the fringe.
I Made an Adult
Midnight in the kitchen. With her youngest child turning 18, a mother faces her greatest challenge yet: one final chance to make a Women’s Weekly birthday cake look like the picture. But as she turns the cookbook’s pages and her memories are stirred, she uncovers a truth she knows she can’t hide from her child. A bittersweet story of beaten eggs, spilt milk and the sifted years of childhood.
“Her delivery is superb, her observations honest.” Ewart Shaw, The Advertiser.
“Very moving … very funny … a wonderful piece of theatre.” Jude Hines, Stage Whispers.
Thank you to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet through Arts South Australia and Adelaide Fringe for their assistance through a South Australian Artists COVID Support Grant.
An Evening with the Vegetarian Librarian
She might be a vegetarian, but she’s also the Gen-X meat in the inter-generational sandwich of the modern workplace.
A mostly true, slightly made-up tale of thwarted ambition, underachievement, and a funeral in a library. A meditation on reading and an ode to life before the device.
“…clever, beautifully written … the booming laughter a testament to Crisp’s unique craft.” Isabella Fowler, The Advertiser.
Adelaide Fringe Festival 2019, Yankalilla 2019, ZestFest 2019
After selling out at the Adelaide Fringe, I remounted The Forgettory as part of ZestFest in October.
Alone in a new city, her last bottle of wine nearly empty, a woman drinks but never forgets. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, her grandfather wanders the past fighting to remember. Told with poignancy and humour, a compassionate, engaging story about a woman’s identity and ageing. If we don’t remember who we were, then who do we become?
“Tracy Crisp’s stories of memory and family are so vivid and affecting in The Forgettory they stay with you long after the theatre lights fade.” Louise Nunn, The Advertiser, five stars.
First performed at Adelaide Fringe 2018
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