Amanda Palmer on dissecting her deepest personal trauma for ‘There Will Be No Intermission’

Amanda Palmer on dissecting her deepest personal trauma for ‘There Will Be No Intermission’

Image by Kahn and Selesnick
Words by Tammy Walters

She’s unapologetic, unsparingly honest and a gem of the music world.

Front-woman of Brechtian punk rock cabaret band The Dresden Dolls and an accomplished solo artist, Amanda Palmer is bringing her critically acclaimed one-woman show, There Will Be No Intermission, to Hamer Hall this month.

“Australia is finally getting the best part of the tour,” says Palmer. “Usually Australia and New Zealand get me when I’m a puddle on the floor. It’s been building and building and building into a better show every night, so weirdly the best shows are going to be in Darwin. Come to Darwin to see the final explosive shows for Amanda Palmer in her best form ever.”

There Will Be No Intermission is an amalgamation of Palmer’s various forms of artistic expression, dissecting her deepest personal trauma and suffering for her trusting community. Audiences be warned: sensitive subjects of abortion, miscarriages, abuse and grief feature heavily within the show. However, Palmer has created a safe space for these discussions.

“One of the things that I love so much about the turns that my career has taken is I’ve built up a trusting enough relationship with my audience that I can get away with doing a show like this and it works,” Palmer says.

“I don’t think I would have been brave enough to do a show this emotional and honest even ten years ago. It’s not a comfortable show by any stretch of the imagination. It’s one of the most uncomfortable shows I’ve ever toured but it’s also paradoxically the most acceptable and funniest, because those things have to be there to balance each other out.”

This blend of the uncomfortable and the downright hilarious fosters an incredible sense of community at Palmer’s shows, not just from the stage to the audience, but within members of the audience.

“I constantly see strangers talking to each other and helping other and passing each other tissues and asking if people who are alone and crying need a hug or need to talk,” Palmer says. “I’m really proud of the fact that whatever garden I grew, these are the people that decided that they want to hang out. It means a lot to me. I think your fanbase really reflects who you are.”

Though, Palmer’s relationship with her community is not one-sided. While her job title covers singer-songwriter, playwright, pianist, author, director, ukulele enthusiast,

touring artist and mother, she can add therapist to the list as well, offering an ear and a warm embrace to each of her supporters.

“I’m in an open marriage but sometimes I feel like I’m in a relationship with thousands and thousands of people – a real relationship that requires time and energy and communication and consent,” she says. “All of the hundreds of thousands of abortion stories and abuse stories and miscarriage stories and suicide stories, they all come with me and they don’t feel like a burden.

“They feel like a collective blanket of comfort that I carry around with me knowing that my story is not unique, ever, because so many people are going through so much suffering on a daily basis that I would be insane to think that my suffering is important or more important than anybody else’s.”

The tour takes its name from Palmer’s latest album. Throughout the process of writing the album, touring the show and hearing peoples’ stories, Palmer admits she’s in a good place in her life.

“These shows have been incredibly therapeutic to me but in a way they’re only as therapeutic to me as they are to others. I am only able to advance my little piece on the board game when everyone else is dancing around with me [laughs]. I don’t get to just bust out and win. It doesn’t work like that.”

Catch Amanda Palmer on Wednesday January 22 at Hamer Hall. Grab your tickets from the Arts Centre Melbourne website. She’ll also play Perth Festival on Saturday February 22. Tix for that show can be found here.