Ground Control to Major Tom! International smash hit ‘STARMAN’ is coming to HOTA, Home of the Arts for one night only. Helmed by Dutch/German entertainer extraordinaire Sven Ratzke, ‘STARMAN’ is an intimate, wild and amusing exploration of David Bowie’s life through his numerous chart-topping hits from New York to Berlin. Sven took the time to tell us a little more about his own experience of Bowie.
Which is your favourite Bowie persona and why?
I would say I like all the personas that he took in the seventies, cause over time he changed and was wearing a mask, it’s like an opera. It’s like a big play, that was also my main thing that inspired me enormously, and of course that an artist can break an image as easily as he creates a new one, that is so brave and inspiring: always recreate and change.
Bowie was frequently a magnet and a safe place for those who felt like freaks, outcasts and misfits. Did you feel like you were on the outside looking in growing up?
Yes, I’m quite out of the box, I’m flirting with underground as well as mainstream. I’m an inspiration to the queer audiences as well as to an opera audiences. When I started to create STARMAN and started to do all this research for Bowie I discovered this, that Bowie and l had this in common, that we are not boxed. I think it appeals to the misfits as well, because he steps out of the ordinary. Again, that’s brave, ‘cause it can be a lonely place sometimes, I can tell you.
Has Bowie’s shock passing changed the way you approach your performance, and do you remember the first show you did after he died?
We didn’t change the show, cause it was more about his spirit, his music, it’s so not an tribute show… but for the audience and also for us there was suddenly this hard realisation. He’s never going to sing his songs again, but it felt as he was watching us. Yes the first show after his passing was hard, he felt for me as a relative, a friend. He had given me personal permission to do this show and it was if I knew him. In the audience there were tears that night and still at moments of the show people get really emotional.
Do you channel Bowie in your show? How much do you focus on imitating his style and how much is just your unique interpretation of his incredible music?
I don’t like imitation or tribute shows at all…that’s for Vegas. The artist already did it himself so greatly, why copy it? No, for me it was also to show what an incredible songwriter and story teller Bowie was. So I give my totally own take on it, but our voices are similar , people tell me, but I always sung like that, only my voice is a bit lower now I’m not a teenager anymore. I love to sing his songs, they are like little movies, you can wander in, with beautiful images and words, and very sexy.
What is some of the best feedback you’ve ever received from a Bowie fan?
I came for Bowie but left with Ratzke. That’s beautiful!
You won’t want to miss STARMAN when it hits the HOTA Arts Theatre Stage on 15 June 2018. Tickets at hota.com.au. We have three double passes to the show to give away to lucky Blank readers. Just enter the competition on our Facebook page by 11 June for your chance.
IMAGE (c) Hanneke Wetzer