by Sian Williams.
Who wants to be an artist? Full time musician? So many talented people roam the global stages – and To Diva Or Not To Diva examines just how that may be made possible with humour, thoughtful storyline and, of course, a lot of music.
We speak with the fabulous Tahlia Ries about her Cabaret Fringe Festival show with local vocalist and musician Emma Knights. She tells us the meaning behind the show’s title.
“As both Emma and I enjoy telling stories and are able to find the theatre and drama in everyday life, we learn as a performer that you really have to laugh at your experiences sometimes. That is really a large theme of the show – finding joy in your endeavours and laughing off the not-so-positive ones. There is a lot of humour, and enormous wit, of course.
“As a young classically trained singer, it is incredibly hard to find your ‘niche’ in the arts scene. Speaking for myself, I have great interest in other genres, so how does one make a career of that?! That is the main focus of this show. Through song, we will explore the many different options that could possibly maketh a career!”
How did you and Emma Knights come to be working together on this show?
“I’ve worked with Emma on another series of original cabaret shows in the past. We met while I was in The Andrews Sisters-esque group The Bailey Dolls. She was the Musical Director and leader/pianist of our little three piece band! I really enjoyed working with her and as I was writing To Diva or Not To Diva I asked her to be the MD for this show. In between Floating Melodies (an Emma Knights Productions series of wonderful concerts/shows on Adelaide’s Popeye) we put the music together!
“As a singer I need a strong instrumental partner – we explore a wide range of repertoire; Dvorak to Kate Bush in fact! Most importantly Emma and I have fun with this show! This is the second Adelaide season for To Diva Or Not To Diva – We premiered at the 2015 Adelaide Fringe Festival and enjoyed a marvellous (and very hot) three-show run. This time we will be performing two shows at the Crown & Sceptre! I know this is not the last time we will collaborate; we already have something very exciting in the works! Stay tuned.”
Just for the sake of amusement, we asked Tahlia a few random questions about herself, beginning with her most undesirable food, and why?
“Broccoli… C’mon, it’s broccoli!”
Most unusual pet you’ve ever kept?
“As a child I possessed a tortoise named Calypso. He now lives with my nanna in the country (he occasionally escapes).”
Do you like reading? Best book?
“I adore reading when I have the time! Harry Potter is always a great go-to.”
Strangest childhood friend?
“Rogers & Hammerstein musicals… The other kids didn’t quite get it.”
Can you speak another language and do you use it in your line of work?
“I can speak a little German – I lived there for six months, four years ago. As a classically trained singer I have to know a little bit of most European languages. My favourite are German, French, Italian & Czech.”
What is the best or most enriching environment you have performed within, and why?
“I do love Festivals. I have been lucky enough to perform in several original shows in the Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe. I recently did a tour with Out Of The Square in a show called Crazy With Sondheim with Blake Parham and Joshua Mollart. We performed for a new audience every day and it was marvellous. A new atmosphere, theatre and audience every day is really invigorating – you don’t really know what to expect!
“It was such a rewarding tour and Out Of The Square is such a wonderful program for up-and-coming shows.”
Can you play any musical instruments?
“I have been singing since the age of eleven, I am now twenty-six so I think I’m quite proficient with that instrument by now! I can play very simple piano and I’ve been learning Ukulele for the past year and I just adore it. Such a lovely soothing sound and conveniently compact! A little bit of Ukulele is featured in the show, although probably not in the most traditional of genres.”
What message would you hope your audience will understand from your performance?
“If you don’t know where you fit into this world quite yet, don’t be discouraged! Dream for what you want, work for what you need!”
Tahlia Ries and Emma Knights perform To Diva Or Not To Diva at the Crown & Sceptre Hotel at various times on Fri 26 Jun and Sun 28 Jun.
Book at TryBooking.com. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.