PERTH physical comedian Nadia Collins travelled to Paris in 2016 to have her ego destroyed.
She trained for six months at Ecole Philippe Gaulier with French master clown Philippe Gaulier and described the experience as “brutal”.
“It’s like weigh in day on The Biggest Loser; you stand in front of other want-to-be-funny people in your unfunny flubber and Gaulier points it out to everyone,” Collins said.
“I think you form unfunny habits to protect yourself like armour and they get pretty ingrained. Change is uncomfortable and drastic change is very uncomfortable.”
She survived and will make her Perth Comedy Festival debut with solo comedy show The Big Thingy that relies entirely on the audience.
“The Big Thingy is an alien who crash-lands on earth to learn how to be human from the audience,” Collins said.
“Every show is different and depends on the audience that night. It’s very silly and fun and playful, and makes you think a little bit about why and who we are.
“My last show (Virgin Bloody Mary) was pretty dark and edgy and I wanted to make something more innocent and naive. I loved the idea of the audience crafting their own adventure and even their protagonist as they went along.
“I have caught some of The Big Thingy’s curiosity about the world and I’ve noticed that people seem to have this kind nature when they’re responding to something child-like and open.”
Collins will present the all-ages show at Regal Chorus Room, Regal Theatre, from April 27 to 28 after it premiered at Adelaide Fringe this year and she was nominated for best newcomer at Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
The experience taught her there were no tricks to prepare for this type of comedy, which does make her freak out before a performance.
“It’s actually just very, very hard,” she said.
“I have to be in a good mental place and very focused through the whole show, so a little quiet time before is good. I’ve thought a lot about the experience and the idea behind possible arcs it might take but at the end of the day it’s a discovery for me too and it can definitely, definitely fail.”
What: The Big Thingy
Where: Regal Chorus Room, Regal Theatre
When: April 27 and 28