Speaking with An UnEnchanted Princess: Linda Beatty

Posted on 08 March 2011

Linda Beatty is a talented celtic harpist, classically trained singer, and comedian. Her show The UnEnchanted Princess is featuring at The Butterfly Club during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Since this interview is being done via email, I can’t start with something cute and lyrical like, “She coquettishly twisted the locks of her long auburn hair with the fingers of one hand. With her other she stroked a softly purring cat.” Mind you, that’s a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.

So, are you wearing anything interesting and what’s your cat up to?

Linda: I’m actually in my Zumba exercise clothes as I am a Zumba addict. My cats are doing what cats do best: sleeping between feeds.

The UnEnchanted Princess is about re-examining the fairytales we tell ourselves for both the humour and realisation that things aren’t as they seem. How did you come to the conclusion that your stage persona is an unenchanted princess rather than a disenchanted princess?

Linda: To me “disenchanted” sounds a little cold and bitter, whereas “unenchanted” for me is just happily seeing things as they really are. I like to poke fun at the stories we build for ourselves but am very happy with the wonders of the world around me.

The UnEnchanted Princess is very much an adult show with adult issues and themes. I think we all take great pleasure as grown-ups seeing aspects of our childhood being subverted. Is this only cynicism or is there something more?

Linda: Certainly it is fun to see our childhood fairy tales twisted and that is part of the show. But on a deeper level I think one of the biggest issues we face in the world is the inability or unwillingness of people to accept the reality of science. This comes in many forms eg—America’s stance on the theory of evolution; believing in a god or spiritual being because it feels good, regardless of the lack of evidence; and homeopathy, again which has no scientific evidence to back it up.

Other than scoring points with the girlfriend for potential after show nookie, what aspects of your performance will the men find appealing?

Linda: Well, I wear fishnet stockings! Actually, though I look very girly, my material isn’t made up of traditionally female humour. I’ve always found the subject matter of “How hard it is to find a man. How stupid my boyfriend/husband is. Why women get angry once a month.” really boring. Plus I see no point in alienating half of the population! (Oh, and I really like men. Have ever since I turned 16!)

Marketing has made being a “princess” a crucial part of asserting a little girl’s membership in her gender club. What do you think makes princesses so appealing?

Linda: I think for a lot of little girls (and grown up girls) it’s the idea of being perfectly beautiful, having a gorgeous husband to take care of you and never having to work or worry about anything ever again that is, on the surface, so appealing. Though I think if you looked at it a bit closer you may find that the princess existence would be quite boring!

Unfortunately it’s also pushed heavily and successfully in the media to sell beauty products. Telling someone they have to be perfect, when perfection doesn’t actually exist, is the perfect way to make a tidy profit!

How do you think the princess image can be changed? Can you think of better role models?

Linda: Hmmm….maybe the princesss image could be changed but, unfortunately, not for many years yet. I think better role models are people like Hilary Clinton, scientist Ann Druyan, actor Meryl Streep and comedian Ellen De Generes. Women who are successful due to what they can do instead of what they look like.

Your singing and harp playing alone would be sufficient to draw an enthusiastic audience. What drew you to comedy?

Linda: Honestly I just enjoy making people laugh. Nothing deeper or more complicated than that.

Which comedians particularly inspire and inform your own work?

Linda: Ellen De Generes and Jerry Seinfeld particularly inspired me as they were the first stand up comedians I saw being really funny and talking about sex, etc without swearing. And Jerry Seinfeld’s comment about how your jokes have to be so much funnier if you don’t swear really resonated with me. From the moment I heard that I stopped swearing in my shows and, though it was much harder to write jokes, I immediately saw my standard of comedy go up.

I’m also a huge fan of Sammy J and Tim Minchin. The way they combine music and comedy has taught me so much!

Is there anything else you would like to say about your show?

Linda: Basically I like to make people laugh and for audiences, male and female alike, to feel comfortable and have a good time. That’s what you’ll get at The UnEnchanted Princess!

And since this is a comedy interview, we must have one non sequitur question. If you could be a garden implement, which would you be and why?

Linda: Um, well as I don’t really garden but I do like fishing in the online game “World of Warcraft”, I’d like to be a garden gnome fishing by a gold fish pond in a big, sunny, leafy garden.

Where and when can we see you, and where can we find more details?

Linda: My show is on at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne on the 17th and 18th of March and from the 14th-17th April during the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Thurs-Sat shows start at 7pm, Sunday is at 6pm. Bookings at www.thebutterflyclub.com.

For a sneak peek of the show visit www.youtube.com/mslindabeatty.

And for more updates and news read my blog at www.linda-beatty.com.

Thank you for sharing with us. I wish you all success with your show.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


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