Growing up on stage
SHE’S acutely aware she was an awkward teenager.
In fact, Zoe Coombs Marr, now 26, has exploited the strangeness of her adolescence and the “inconvenience” of discovering she was gay in a small country town in a 55-minute comedy stand-up/theatrical piece entitled The Summer That Changed My Life (TSTCML).
“When I was 13, I was very dorky ... and I was really into being a warrior princess, but not quite sure why,” she said.
Though Xena Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have become lesbian icons since, they were part of what helped Zoe figure herself out as a young Grafton High School student.
Zoe insists she was quite uncool, with her love for leather-clad (and hot) heroines and her membership of the concert band.
“It’s just amazing how flute can be your whole life at one stage, but now it doesn’t really matter ... but it really helped shape me, other things just took over.”
Regarding her latest act, Zoe said there were lots of silly tricks including a nose bleed, funny musical moments and overall it was slightly bizarre.
TSTCML is playing as part of the Imperial Panda Festival, which Zoe is co-ordinating, this month and the Melbourne Comedy Festival next month.
The Imperial Panda website contains the following about the show: “In 1997, Zoe started high school, taped every episode of Buffy and Xena, wrote mean graffiti about herself in the girls’ toilets just to be noticed and played all the flute solos in the West Side Story medley at band camp.
"This show’s about all that.
"An eternally daggy, unabashedly sentimental and hilariously cringe-worthy plunge into the humiliation, outrage and exhilaration of being a teenager.”
Asked what she loved about Grafton, the quick-witted comic replied “leaving”, before getting to her real answer.
Though she enjoys living in Sydney, Zoe said it was the sense of perspective she enjoyed most about her rural upbringing.
“I’ve got lots of funny stories, I really liked growing up in Grafton, I still have really good friends there,” she said.
“I enjoyed being a big fish in a little pond for a while I guess, it worked for me.”
TSTCML can be seen at the Redfern Town Hall from March 11 to 13.
Zoe then heads off to Melbourne where she will do (all but) nightly shows at Town Hall.
Unfortunately there are no plans to bring the show to the Clarence Valley at this stage but Zoe said she would consider offers from “big Grafton producers”.