With a goal in mind, White founded Gorelesque alongside Nicole Lee Casati with no budget and nothing but friendly shoulders to lean on. Looking back to their humble beginnings, she recalls, “We started as a small show selling tickets to our closest friends, hoping they’d come along for a kitschy little burlesque show. We involved all our friends, put up some dropsheets, and went for it! That was in 2009.” Living proof that all you need is a wild imagination and a little determination to stumble upon a winning formula, the partnership has spent the past two years simply building on their success, yet neither can fully comprehend the fortunate position they find themselves in. “In 2010, we sold out two massive shows, and we’re facing a sell-out the third year. Now Gorelesque is a company that produces a show worth touring the country, flying the best of local and interstate performers to each city, creating short films that are being nominated for awards in various film festivals and generally raising the bar for strange entertainment. 2011 is a big year for us.”
Before we turn our focus to Gorelesque 2011, our conversation returns to the outset. While Gorelesque has grown and morphed more than White and Casati had ever imagined in their wildest dreams, White does concede that there has always been a vision and goal sourced from their greatest inspirations. “Initially, Gorelesque was inspired by something that had very little to do with B-grade horror films and gore-gore kitsch. I was frustrated with amount of opportunities that existed for performance artists with a bizarre bent, there was nothing out there. Or existing producers that turned their nose up at what we were doing. There were few outlets for what we had to express, so we created our own.”
Born out of sheer frustration at the mainstream state of affairs in the art world, Gorelesque was driven by the need to make a statement. They were natural born performers who did not fit the stereotype, and were aware that their destiny really lay in their own hands. While others are able to simply knock on the right door and catapult them towards the stars, White wanted to shout out loud, ‘What about me?’ Her statement has been received loud and clear, with it proving that there is more than a little room out there for your non-typical performer.
While their incentive may have be born out of a personal craving, the successful delivery of their production has led the way for many other non-stereotypical performers, which in itself is a double-edged sword. Though they are clearly thankful to have been leading lights, their frustration is born out of sheer laziness on the behalf of others. “We’ve struggled with copy cats popping up in Australia and around the world, but there’s no money or support for us to chase our rights to the Gorelesque brand. We just have to make do with outdoing ourselves and hope that audiences know that we have a strong creative vision with the passion to carry it out, whatever it takes.”
Though they may now have to deal with cheeky copycats, the partnership have stuck to their guns and are all set to deliver Gorelesque 3, which manages to both build on the already notorious original. For those who are unaware of the piece, White explains it as follows, “It’s a mixed-media horror burlesque show, a bit of dark variety and bizarre burlesque. But then it’s not necessarily traditional horror. The acts don’t have to feature a phenomenal amount of blood or violence to be considered for the show. It has a distinct fetish and comedy edge. We make and screen a film each year, now known as the infamous Gorelesque Opening Sequences, to open the show, in a tribute to the horror films we know and love (to hate).”
“Gorelesque has always been about under-charging and over-delivering.” Without any malice in her voice White reiterates Gorelesque’s against the grain approach. White and Cassati want to do anything but conform. “Burlesque was originally about delivering entertainment that was accessible to all audiences, a low-brow form of entertainment. And while the burlesque of the last decade has run rings in quality around it’s predecessors, so have the ticket prices. Some burlesque productions and their accompanying admission costs are totally beyond the means of most. And so, we’ve committed ourselves to creating one of the highest quality burly-Q productions at an entry level theatre price.”
Building on what her co-creator has already explained, the till-now contentedly quiet Casati closes our conversation with the best show summary I have heard in a while. Loaded with promise, she smiles and states, “You can expect crucifixes, electric chairs, new ways to handle steak and sausages, creatures from the deep, swords, amazing costumes, blood and other assorted bodily fluids!” Well, that says it all – what more could anyone ask for?