Elizabeth Shearer is a musician from Brassall Ipswich, who is due to present her one-woman show Bite Me But Smile as part of the Wonderland Festival, that is playing at the Powerhouse throughout November.
Shearer stars as Miss Zella Shear, a 20-something-year-old singleton singer, in a world of trending hashtags, lacking an understanding of personal boundaries, who wants to do it all: opera, jazz, pop and burlesque, all the while constantly on the lookout for potential dates and audience appreciation.
Shearer describes Bite Me But Smile as a topical absurdist cabaret show that is both a personal journey and a commentary on a narcissistic society, addicted to social media and validation.
Featuring risqué reveals, mechanical stimuli, musical mayhem and a judgmental talking kebab, it’s a multilayered visual experience that draws the audience in and makes them question their role in a world that seems to increasingly value shallow attention over meaningful interactions.
Shearer explains, “At an underlying level Bite Me But Smile explores smiling depression and the influence social media can have on our perspective of reality and happiness. Provoking questions such as “What is the truth behind a selfie?”, “how is a wolf whistle different to an Instagram like?” and “would I rather followers or friends?”
Despite writing and performing her own one-woman show by her 20s, Shearer didn’t take the straight path to fringe festivals.
After graduating from Ipswich Girls Grammar she trained at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, completing a Bachelor of Music Performance, majoring in Classical Voice.
She says it was only after moving to the United Kingdom that she began to realise how many musical places she could take her skills.
“I always knew I wanted to perform, it just took some exploration time to find out where. I love the grand theatrical and dramatic nature of opera, mixed with the incredible musical and vocal ability required. When I moved to London in 2013, I felt the desire to explore alternative artistic art forms. It was through this exploration that I entered the world of fringe festivals, a medium where in I would continue to develop my theatrical cabaret style.”
While Shearer admits there are certainly challenges to presenting a one-woman show, she relishes the experience.
“The benefit is that I can form connections with my audience. It’s really special when at the end of a show, I feel like the audience has gone on this crazy journey with me. It’s a great feeling.”
Her work has proved highly successful and has since taken her through Scotland, Australia and the UK writing and performing in various venues and festivals.
Bite Me But Smile will be playing for the first time in Australia for the Wonderland festival and Shearer is working on taking it to the coveted Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2020.