On the Couch with Annie Lee

Annie Lee AAR On the CouchWho is Annie Lee?
Annie Lee is an actor and singer, most known for playing eldest sister, Mourne in The Kransky Sisters. She grew up in a fundamentalist religious family on the north coast of Tasmania, escaping to the mainland at the age of seventeen, where she began a career in the performing arts. Annie began working on the theatre stage in plays and went on to creating solo works and large-scale outdoor festival shows. She holds a particular passion for German Cabaret of the twenties and thirties, and loves to hang out in Berlin.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d spend more time nurturing friendships. As we get older, it’s easy to let our friends slip further in to the past. Friends are so important, and time moves so fast. We have to hold on to what is dear to us.

I’d also like to spend time caring for animals. I’m passionate about them. Travelling so much for work, makes owning an animal too difficult. I’m a stalker at the zoo. Perhaps when I’m older, I’ll get to have a small animal farm, a few goats, a pig, and an imported capybara. I’ve always been fond of the world’s largest rodent.

Who inspires you and why?
So many, but Buster Keaton, Gene Wilder and Phyllis Diller are at the top of the list. These fine funny performers are so individual, sensitive and endearing. Qualities I love to see in people. It’s inspiring to see performers who are comfortable exposing the pitfalls of the human condition. It’s liberating laughing at our foibles.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d sing more. I’d encourage everyone to sing more. If we all get up in the morning and sing, the world will be a much better place. The power of music can bring us together. It’s an antidepressant. Let’s make music, not war.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
My favorite place for a holiday is Porto, Portugal. Besides the delectable white port (the drink, not the ship’s dock, although that’s lovely too), I love the old medieval town. It’s full of quirky intimate bars and restaurants that you find in the secret little nooks and crannies, with décor that puts you back in the 60’s. The food is amazing. The people, so warm and interesting.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’d take them to Fairfield Park Boathouse and Tea Garden. It’s beautifully peaceful, rowing around on the still water in such picturesque surrounds. I’d also take them to South Melbourne Markets for some tasty Gozleme. The little outdoor cook shop has been there with the same lady making them for years. Beautiful!

What are you currently reading?
Melbourne’s own Justin Heazlewood’s Get Up Mum. It’s a wonderful book full of insightful lyricism. Justin gives a beautiful childhood account of growing up with his mother in Burnie. Besides being a top read, it’s brought back memories of my own time in Tasmania. Thanks to the inimitable Paul Livingston (Flacco) who recommended I read it. Can’t put it down.

What are you currently listening to?
My Life in The Bush of Ghosts – Brian Eno and David Byrne. The album is from 1981, but is totally timeless. It’s full of ingenious polyethnic rhythms, African, Middle Eastern and mixes electronic music techniques and radio broadcasts. It’s a listening experience, rather than a dancing one, but still very funky. I bought the album when it was first released, and wore it out on my old record player. I miss the crackles, but glad I have it back in my collection.

Happiness is?
True friendship, loving relationships, and a funny dog.

What does the future hold for you?
A lot more experience in theatre and cabaret, writing and doing fun projects. You never stop learning and growing in this business. There’s so much more I want to do. If I make to eighty, I’ll be on stage in my nighty and slippers recounting it all. What a ride!

Annie stars in her new one-woman show inspired by her life growing up in a fundamentalist religion, Pawn Again Christian, at The Butterfly Club from 3 September 2018. For more information, visit: www.thebutterflyclub.com for details.

Image: Annie Lee (supplied)