Pelican speaks with Fringe Performer, Ukulele Sovereign and Comedian Jamie Mykaela about her upcoming debut show and the series of mysterious deaths that befell her late husbands.
So I’m not going to beat around the bush here, what happened to your third husband?
It was an interesting story, I bought him a present, which he thought was a bath bomb but it turned out to be a toaster. It was a tragic situation and I’m devastated but I’m now dating a rather wealthy elderly man and we’re hopelessly in love.
That makes sense, given the boating incident.
Definitely, we tend to avoid talking about it at family functions, it’s a real tragedy and I’m still not quite over it.
Despite your grief, you’re performing in Fringe this year. Tell us about that.
Oh my gosh, yes! I’m doing a show about the expectations of love and sex, which is a bit different…or not entirely, Fringe has a lot of sexual content but I’d like to think this will be a bit more brutal with fewer feathers and sequins and more talking about how I lost my virginity [laughs] sorry I’m eating – I shouldn’t have eaten! What the fuck am I doing! Yes I’m performing at fringe and it’s my first show and I’m one of the youngest people to put on a solo cabaret show ever. Which is exciting; I’m playing with the big kids.
How important is violating your audience’s personal space to you?
Very much so! Because of how I present myself in my stage persona, people tend to not expect it. I do amp-up the femininity and uh…youthfulness of myself on stage. Not to a creepy degree, I’ve seen that happen and it’s weird. But people don’t expect this delicate looking sweet thing to sit on their laps and refuse to continue on with the song while their arms are folded because they need to have open body language, otherwise it won’t be a fun time for anyone. Plus you don’t see it everyday, which is fun.
One question: Why ukuleles?
I have freakishly small baby hands. I struggle to play even a ¾ size electric guitar. I do it anyway but ukuleles are a lot smaller and a lot better, plus they’re cute.
One of your songs is about a woman in her 60s waiting for her lover to come home, something that clearly comes from your heart as a 60-year-old widow. But where do you find inspiration for your songs?
Well for that one in particular I was walking around Mount Lawley and I saw this very elegantly presented old woman sitting on her front porch holding a bouquet of flowers. But the flowers were dead and it was just this split-second image of absolute tragedy that I needed to write about. So I took this one visual and created an entire backstory behind it. I tend to do it when I’m people-watching as well, like you see a mother pushing a pram and you make up this story about how she’s got a husband who constantly works away from home and is always flying in and out – and suddenly she’s got a valium addiction and drinks herself to sleep every night you know? I guess I relish in other people’s tragedies in all honesty [laughs] or I make them myself just by looking at them.
How do you feel the comedy scene has treated you as a female performer?
I’m lucky, the comedy scene has been nothing but welcoming because there does happen to be a lack of women in the Perth Comedy scene. No to completely disregard the amazing women that we’ve got now like Sian Choyce and Bec Charlwood. All of these women are fantastic but when you look at the ratio of men to women it’s completely out of proportion. But they do welcome women with open arms and it’s amazing when you see someone on stage and they completely obliterate a room when three of the lads on the lineup can’t even do that, only to be told “oh you’re so brave for doing standup.” Anyone can do it really, but I wish there were more young women in the Perth Comedy scene because it kind of sucks being one of the few. But I guess if people don’t see others that look like them on stage they won’t think to do it themselves – so I was lucky to see Bec Charlwood perform and that was what really kicked my arse into gear and got me to start doing comedy myself.
One last question: Will you ever reconnect with your son?
Mason is dead to me; we’re estranged. He’s divorced me as his mother and I am totally content with that because I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life [breaks into tears] it’s a difficult time as a mother.
Interview By Hayden Dalziel
Image by Sit Stay Photography
Jamie Mykaela’s debut show Too Dumb To Be In Love is playing at 459 Bar from the 8th to the 10th of February.