Parker Genné is on a mission to bring vaudeville back. This Saturday, she will be presenting her one-woman show, Ms. Luisa Eats
, at Patrick's Cabaret. Based on opera legend Luisa Tetrazzini, Genné's Luisa loves to eat, sing, and enjoy the pleasures of life.
Shortly after a 2008 trip to Berlin, where she was inspired to become a cabaret performer, Genné created the character of Ms. Luisa. A friend suggested basing her on Luisa Tetrazzini, an opera singer from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tetrazzine was not only known as a great singer, but also as a peculiar personality. She loved food, did weird exercises in her apartment, and once even dressed up in drag in order to escape her husband. Genné was drawn to the idea of her. "I love history and crazy, wacky women who do amazing things," she says.
Genné found herself in San Francisco performing as Ms. Luisa on the cabaret scene. There, she met what she describes as a "stripping granny" who enticed her to come to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The following summer, Genné performed in a ukelele cabaret at a strip club and other venues while busking outside during the day. She eventually brought Ms. Luisa to the Minnesota Fringe, where she received a positive response.
It's been a bit since Genné has brought Ms. Luisa out for an extended performance, and some changes have been made since the last time she performed as the character. "Luisa in the past has always been searching for the perfect man," Genné says. "But she's learned that all the love she needs is right here in her heart."
Ms. Luisa has been on a journey of healing. She talks to her muscles, and goes to the shaman. "Her path to self discovery is bizarre and strange, but she experiences it all and never says no to anything," she says. In a bit of method acting, Genné is on a juice cleanse this week. "I'm enjoying the effect of it," she says.
While Ms. Luisa Eats only performs one night, Genné says she's got more plans in store. She's setting up a folk-telling group with a few of her friends. "I never wanted to be in a theater company, I always wanted to be in a band," she says. The troupe plans to create a real vaudeville show, and will travel to different bars and venues to perform.
IF YOU GO:
Ms. Luisa Eats
7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 4
3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis
3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN