by Kenneth Moraleda
Cecilia Low approached me with her strong concept for They Say She’s Different and had already amassed a great amount of research on this fascinating woman, a force who I did not know anything about.
The brief: A live concert with scenes and monologues to tie up the songs - great. Add to that live projection & filmed sequences - I was hooked.
She knew what she wanted. She was to perform in it, produce it and write it. She needed a sounding board for the ideas and an outside eye. I came on board. To cohesively encapsulate music, film, theatre into an immersive experience was to be an exciting challenge. But to distill Betty's career and multi faceted life into one short sharp show seemed too impossible.
Over many meetings, phone conversations and skype sessions we clarified the concept, dissected and reassembled the script and the film footage, and debated on what songs in what order were needed to deliver the Betty story. Who is this character? She was showy but a very private woman so accounts of her true personality was scant. We dug deeper. Clues were in her few interviews, news articles of the period, and her songs. We worked a lot from the truths but also taken some liberties by bending some for the drama.
In her producer hat Cecilia assembeled a killer band and got the first show up at Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne. Success. Adelaide Cabaret Festival picked it up so more tweaking. Then more refinements to get it to a longer season at the Melbourne Fringe 2015.
This recent incarnation focuses on her early career, her relationship with her best friend Devon, Jimi Hendrix, her tempestuous involvement with Miles Davis, and is set in the momentous period of music history where funk, psychedelia, jazz, soul, & hard rock beautifully mashed and clashed. Then we skip forward towards the end of her career, fatigued from the madness of the music industy.
Cecilia, in her performer hat, channels a Betty that is from the heart with sass, raunch and a damn loud killer voice. Her outer persona of the socially revered, club owning, musically gifted Betty is bound to entertain. We layer in Betty’s more elusive inner life through Eliza Wolfgramm’s take on some of Betty’s iconic songs as reflections of her emotional states and through the intimacy of the camera - masterly lensed by Cameron Zayec.
Stay tuned for the next incarnation, because there is more to the story of our muse, a true power packed diva, Betty Davis.
Kenneth Jagger Jagger Moraleda
©Copyright 2014 by Cicasa.