What do you get when you cross a performer and Crohn’s disease? A cabaret, of course. Melbourne-based opera singer Uma Dobia is sharing her story, Intolerant, with the masses, by way of Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Telling The AJN that after it took years to get a proper diagnosis for her food allergies and Crohn’s disease, Dobia has found it quite cathartic writing the show.
“It’s a playful show, with the aim of highlighting the challenges of living with these diagnoses, and to inspire more tolerance in the broader community,” she said.
We all know that food allergies and digestive diseases have a much higher prevalence in Jewish populations, so Dobia is hoping that her cabaret will speak to many in the community.
“Since my experience with Crohn’s is relatively new, the show has given me a way to express how I’ve felt emotionally about my health instead of just focusing on the physical side,” she said. “Writing the script has given me a new lens to view both my food allergies and Crohn’s. I’ve been able to put a playful spin on things that are debilitating and constant concerns in my life, and reprocess much of the shame I felt as a child around my allergies.”
Also on the Melbourne Fringe stage is Jeremy Moses, presenting an hour of jokes and stories about growing up with a disability, as part of a big Iraqi, Indian, Singaporean, Australian Jewish family, and some topical poetry he has written to date.
“I talk a lot about getting into the wrong cars as a kid, being mistaken for drunk at bars as an adult, and some of the barriers to access people with disability face. There’s a lot of silly wordplay, but my show also raises some important issues we need to talk about,” Moses told The AJN. “I’m finding that comedy is a very powerful medium to discuss difficult and unspoken topics. It connects with people who otherwise hadn’t thought about or empathised with the challenges many of us face. More comedians feeling enabled and empowered to tell their stories will lead to greater awareness and outcomes.”
Marilyn Leder is also bringing her show back to the Melbourne stage, alongside three other comedians, focusing on motherhood.
Leder describes Tight Mums, Loose Units as “four hilariously sassy gals – two happily married and two happily divorced – cutting loose on stage”.
“We feel the pressures placed on women to be perfect wives, mothers and lovers … tightly wound, tight friends and tight bodies. But when we hit the stage, we’re loose units! We explore marriage, parenting, dating and expectations placed upon women from various cultures – Jewish, Chinese, Indian and Australian,” she said, explaining that audiences should expect a hilarious and surprising peak into the women’s lives.
“We are all mothers from different cultures and have faced similar challenges balancing performing and family life.”
Melbourne Fringe Festival runs from October 3-22. For more information and tickets, visit melbournefringe.com.au