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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 2, 2014 - Volume 43 Issue 01
Ain't nothin' like THE Dame: An interview with Dame Edna Everage
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Ain't nothin' like THE Dame: An interview with Dame Edna Everage

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

DAME EDNA'S
GLORIOUS GOODBYE
THE FAREWELL TOUR
MOORE THEATRE
January 15-18


Dame Edna is the world famous persona that is as well-known for her outspokenness as much as for her flamboyant dresses. With a sharp view through sequined cat-eye glasses, the beloved figure from Australia says her Glorious Goodbyes in her Final Farewell Tour. After triumphant (and award-winning) performances throughout the United Kingdom, Dame Edna Everage kicks off her fond farewells to United States.

Eric

Andrews-Katz: Thank you for taking the time for the interview. Seattle is looking forward to hosting you. Dame Edna Everage: This is the premiere of my world U.S. tour, and I'm thrilled to be doing it in Seattle. Every time I come to Seattle I go on the Underground Ghost Tour and the Zoo. I go to the Fish Market and they throw fish at me. I throw gladiolas back.

Andrews-Katz: Describe your upbringing in Wagga Wagga, South Wales?

Dame Edna: It was New South Wales because it reminded the early settlers of that part of the British Isles. I was brought up in a small town but I don't remember much because we moved to Melbourne when I was young. I went to a lovely school but unfortunately there was a horrible bully at the school. The bully was ME! Between being the bully and the bullied, it is the best thing to be in a situation like that, because nobody bothers you if YOU are the bully! I was afraid I was a bit stern with the girls, but I was very interested in performance. I would act in little plays and I was in a beautiful Christmas play in which I played Mary Magdalene. She was a bit of a Biblical minx, if you will. I created a sensation when I had to put ointment on Jesus' feet. I didn't know what to use. I would never have come to the United States if it wasn't for my good friend Joan Rivers. She said 'Edna, they will love you. They are sophisticated there, especially in Seattle.' Well, that's not what I heard, but it remains to be seen now. This is the third show I've done at Seattle's Moore Theatre. I got friendly with some of the rats that live there. They've all been banished now, so I'm doing this Farewell Tour. It's a little bittersweet for me, to say goodbye. I'm very happy to say that I'm at the height of my powers. A lot of stars travel with security, well I have no such thing. I have never been mugged. I only travel with my gynecologist. I have a pelvic exam in the toilet before every performance. That's why I come on stage with an enigmatic smile!

Andrews-Katz: How did you first meet your husband Norm Everage?

Dame Edna: I met him at a local dance in the Town Hall. It was a folksie affair and he was very gentlemanly. I never realized that he was older than me. He didn't tell me the whole truth about himself and it sort of 'came out' on the honeymoon. He had a plumbing problem, you see. It just got worse over the years, so in fact, I married an invalid. I would recommend it to any of your readers. It means you can go out and live your own life while hoping for sufficient health care.

Andrews-Katz: You're the mother of four children. A 'rogue koala' kidnapped your firstborn Lois as an infant. Has anything ever been heard from her since?

Dame Edna: Not a word. But I hold onto hope. I think she could still be alive. Did you see the movie Greystoke? She could be living with a caring koala family. Every time I pass a eucalyptus tree I look up, hoping I might see her clinging to a eucalyptus branch. But it was a major tragedy in my life and my hair immediately changed color. Most women would have gone white but I went mauve.

Andrews-Katz: Your remaining daughter Valmai often joins you on stage. Will she be assisting you on your final tour?

Dame Edna: No, she's sadly become quite dysfunctional. She's actually living in the Seattle area. I will tell you more about it on stage. I'm not proud of it, but is it fair for these kids to have a Gigastar Mom? I think it would have happened to her in any case.

Andrews-Katz: How long has your son Kenny been roommates with Clifford Smale?

Dame Edna: Clifford is gone. He was not being very well behaved, so he is no longer my son's roommate. Kenny now has a lovely roommate named Fabian. Fabian has a Seattle background working at the Seattle Arts Museum. He's a curator of 18th Century Snuff Boxes. Since the museum only has three it's not an arduous job, but he is up to stick and I find him quite charming. Kenny is perfectly fine and a big success designing my frocks. He's so popular, lovable and supportive. I do hope that my daughter Valmai is only going through a phase. Kenny has a lot of friends amongst your readers. Now there's an idea, you should change your paper from Seattle Gay News to Seattle People Passing Through a Phase!

Andrews-Katz: From being a world advisor, a jet setter, and a talk show host, who is the most interesting person you've met so far?

Dame Edna: I've met so many. I love k.d. lang, she is the most charming person and the funniest. I've always had a soft spot for Barry Manilow. He's a sweetheart and a very good songwriter. I think I also like Larry Hagman. He's gone now, but Larry was one of my earliest supporters in America. When I was lost in Los Angeles, I met David Kelly and wanted to talk about 'Ally McBeal.' He wrote a part for me on 'Ally McBeal.' It became a running character. I like to think that I brought that series to a close. If it were still going I would love to be on 'Frasier.' Because that is a Seattle-based show and is one of the great comedy classics. When I need cheering up I watch it. David Hyde Pierce is a friend of mine. He lives in New York and Los Angeles and he is so bright and funny and loving. I think David Hyde Pierce is one of my favorite American artists.

Andrews-Katz: Has there been anyone you've met that you've taken an instant dislike to?

Dame Edna: I wasn't very fond of Chevy Chase. I think he was very, very nervous, but since I first met him, I've seen him several times and he's been quite sweet. I didn't fall in love with him though. I did like little Robin Williams, and I think when I look back at all the people I've known and interviewed, it's sad as how few of them are still alive. So I am a Triumphant Survivor!

Andrews-Katz: What developed your fascination with gladiolas?

Dame Edna: We used to have them at home when we had a little extra money. They represent prosperity, confidence and insensitivity really, so I like to share them with my audience.

Andrews-Katz: As this is allegedly your Final Tour what's next on the agenda for Dame Edna?

Dame Edna: I'm finishing another book. This one is on my wonderful philosophies of life! I'm taking a break and doing charity work about the prostate. As you may know, I founded the charity - Friends of the Prostate - since my Norm died of complications. I'm planning on building Prostate World, maybe near Seattle. It would be a urological adventure playland! It would be an enormous prostate for families, with activities like Bowling, Hungry Jack, a Medication Center, maybe even white water rafting. Although, perhaps it might be yellow water rafting.

Andrews-Katz: Dame Edna, thank you for taking the time for doing this interview.

Dame Edna: I don't look at it like an interview; it is more like an intimate conversation with a friend - although one of us happens to be more interesting than the other. Please send my love to your readers and I hope they enjoy their journey as they pass through their various phases of life. Dame Edna made her first public appearance in the late 1950s. She first earned the title of 'Housewife and Superstar,' then became a 'Megastar,' and eventually a 'Gigastar' after earning the title of 'Dame' in 1970. Her autobiography My Gorgeous Life was published in 1994 and then Barry Humphries wrote the Unauthorised Biography as Dame Edna's manager in 2010.

Tell a friend:

New Year of theater starts now
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Ain't nothin' like THE Dame: An interview with Dame Edna Everage
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