Enter the realm of Yana Alana. A self assured, righteous, demurely dressed, potty-mouthed feminist. And one thinks that is only the beginning.
Sarah Ward has quite simply created a monster – and a hilarious one at that.
Yana Alana’s best attributes are all of them. Through the vast talent of Ward, this multi-layered character is developed at every level, leaving no stone unturned and no social group unnamed. Her diva antics litigate the show, while her crass poetry, titled from the self-written book, ‘If you were a carrot, I would have cum by now,’ is a refreshing if not humorous examination of modern feminism. Utilising her well pronounced accent, she delightfully destroys the illusion of this immaculately dressed 50’s housewife with her foul mouthed antics and conversation starters.
“Why is it every time a male talks about his cock, its funny? Yet when a woman talks about her c**t, it’s political?’
Yana Alana simply is, and quite rightly points out, a one woman show. She is the creation of Sarah Ward, one half of funky hip hop act, Sista She. Following on from her successful launch of Yana Alana at 2007 Melbourne Fringe and 2008 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Ward’s enormous talent for producing new performance art has once again been recognised by the Arts Centre Full Tilt. This program gives artistic development to talented artists - who are often already established in the independent/fringe scene, and then offers performance on a mainstream stage.
Well, that is if they want it.
While her skill is unquestionable, it is Ward’s utter resistance to entering ‘mainstream’ pop that is stronger than anything. Through her poem ‘I don’t want to be an Australian Celebrity,’ she cunningly takes a dig at the hordes of people wishing to be celebrated on morning television and shopping centre parades. Despite her following poem being labeled ‘Bitter,’ it is clear that without a doubt; Ward is good as they come. Luckily for us however, she has chosen her own path.
The re-staging of Yana Alana and the Paranas at the Fairfax sees the show remain largely the same as past seasons, however with some added changes that only further compliment the show. The introduction of the highly skilled Town Bikes – ‘the notorious first ladies of crazed adagio’, pushes the jealousy buttons of Yana Alana, and she sets about to steal their stage time, make up, costumes and integrity. Not to be outdone, the girls brilliantly hit back with side-splitting routines including aisle - skiing, lamington face-stuffing and ridiculously absurd costume creations.
A cleverly devised view of backstage allows this pettiness to play out and the uproarious snide remarks and jealous retorts only embellish the diva antics of Yana Alana. Her loyal band, the Paranas are once again subjected to the star’s constant criticism and work this routine just as well as they do connecting with her vast musical ability. It is worth noting Bec Mathews’ drum wall design as a commendable contribution to the show as her execution of swinging and keeping rhythm is mind-blowing.
This is a woman with no shame and we love her for it. With her crude poetry resonating every thought from the ‘mother f***er tram inspectors’, to ‘Young Liberals’, right down to a poem simple titled, ‘C**t,’ (yes, you’re right - she is not shy of this word) her enormous comedic ability is highlighted along with her identification in everyday issues of importance. I can’t help but feel empowered by this girl every time I see her. Along with her all female cast, she takes genuine digs at herself, feminism and modern society and we are the better for it. While no one can take the limelight away from Yana Alana, what we can take away is a breath of fresh air and the ability to cast a lighter view to any situation.
If you haven’t already, get along to meet Yana Alana. While a little scary at first, this is one woman you would definitely not want to miss.
Yana Alana and the Paranas with Town Bikes
BITE ME HARDER
Venue: the Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio
Season: Thursday 17 July to Saturday 26 July
Time: Wednesday to Saturday 7:30pm
Tickets: Full $28, Conc/under 26 $23, Student Rush $15, Groups 6+ & Preview $20
Bookings: theartscentre.com.au or 1300 136 166 or Ticketmaster outlets or the Arts Centre Box Office