I have been a long time fan and follower of Effie a.k.a Mary Coustas, I have followed her journey right from the beginning of Acropolis Now ! She has been on a long break from performing and we have missed her. I got to chat to her briefly ahead of her Perth show THE VIRGIN BRIDE as part of the Perth Comedy Festival. Frontier Comedy are thrilled to announce that Logie Award-winning, AFI nominated writer and performer Mary Coustas (Acropolis Now, Effie Just Quietly, Greeks On The Roof) is bringing her hit one woman theatrical production Effie – The Virgin Bride
I feel like you’ve been missing from the scene for a long time, its great to have you back after all these years , how does it feel?
There is something very familiar about being back, but so much has happened in between. We started here as innocent little actors and just stumbled across this great show ‘Wogs out of Work” and from then on we went on to television, but Perth was the last hoorah before it all happened and we have looked forward to every big show here since! I’m very glad to be back in a place that holds so much history for us.
I feel like there was a big long break in between…Do you feel like you’ve got the performing bug back in your system?
I was dreaming about this show for ten years but I was sidetracked by my bigger dream which was to become a mum.
I spent 7 months with a great team of people putting this show together and this is the encore national tour because I did it nationally in Melbourne, Perth & other cities so this is comfortable and nice and I’m able to actually relax and enjoy it !
So this is a one woman show, will we be meeting a few different characters?
It’s the world around Effie’s wedding, the famous Virgin, where she gets married and pops the cherry at the same time. So it’s her Uncle Vasili that comes out from Greece to the wedding, he is her favourite Uncle and her special guest. He is her Dad’s brother.
Then I play Aphrodite, Effie’s immaculately conceived child, so she is a little flower girl, then there is another element to the show which is a surprise to the audience, I wont reveal too much! There’s a lot that happens.
Last year the show was shown as ‘Effie gets married’, but because people are new to this show this year , we have come out and proud and revealed elements of the show but kept one part a surprise, we wont publicly reveal, but we let the audience experience something they wouldn’t expect.
Is it the first time you have played a guy?
No, no , I’ve got a real thing for playing men.
Can we say we can expect to learn more about you personally?
Yeh, as if you didn’t know enough, now you will know everything!
I feel like we have all been on this journey with you since the beginning, learning all your little catchphrases, what’s it like to then hear people in the street and they repeat something that you know you kind of in a sense invented?
Well they’re just like little historical tattoos that live In the Australian vernacular now and they’re fun little things to pull out, you know like we do with an Austin Powers or a Jim Carey phrase or whatever it is we like quoting! I like the fact people can enjoy them and when we have something that is embarrassing , you can throw in a “How Embarrasshment” and make it a funny embarrassing and we all awkwardly at some point throw in a “Good Thanks” when we haven’t even been asked the question. Then we can throw it back as a bit of a joke. These little ‘joy pills’ are there to be used and to be recycled appropriately or inappropriately, just as reminders that we are all human. Its better if we can laugh at stuff rather than feel embarrassed.
Has Effie evolved into the world of social media?
Yeh she is on Facebook, she could be doing a lot more but she spends so much time doing her hair and being a public figure that I don’t think she is that big on the devices!! She is more a people’s person. Her Facebook page is very strong but she isn’t going to be one of these people who communicates something that’s not 3D. Also she didn’t become famous because of social media. I suppose what is in question is what are you selling? What I’m selling is the experience, and the experience can’t be had just by competing in a language that is pretty instant. That is why I love doing big shows like this so that people can come and have the deepest most satisfying experience and to have that within them. They can keep it as a really strong memory rather than a funny post. Think Junk Food as apposed to a really nice home cooked meal!
I remember Effie having that innocent style humour but with a lot of spunk to her…Does she still have this type of innocence?
She is still innocent but she is more honest than she has ever been, this show is very relevant to its audience no matter who that audience may be, its not referring to some fake celebrity world, she is referring to the same things that we all refer to , who we love, who we are related to , who our friends are, how we show up to the big events in our lives, vanity. I had no interest in referring to famous people throughout the show because that what drains the audience out. So I always want to keep my material as relevant to the real people who are sitting and watching. My job is more of a social commentator and by that I think there are enough people commenting on what famous people are doing and there is a desire to know and an industry in that but its not really what I think I do best. I’m really good at taking the everyday, the urbaness of urban, putting a comical ribbon on it , amplifying it slightly so it can live on a big stage and have people totally relate to it. That’s what I think my job is, I’m sort of them but on stage…I’m a bigger more animated version of them on a stage. That’s what I hope I am!
What has taken Effie so long to take the plunge and get married?
She was… and is frigid
She was… and is paranoid
She was… and is no longer picky
She was… desperate and now found Mr. Right
She went from picky to desperate, that is something that happened to a lot of us waiting for the big ticket item to turn up, then they’re like , oh no it didn’t quite turn out like the fantasy , I better get a wriggle on, otherwise I’m going to miss out on having an intimate relationship, so she was lucky she was dragged back to the school reunion and she met someone from her school and it was actually the first boy she ever kissed! He had never gotten over her and so it makes sense to her to secure a place in this relationship. The only thing is he isn’t Greek, which is good thing, but it causes problems more so for her Greek family but there’s a lot of comedy in that.
We don’t get to meet the fiancé in the show do we?
Well you feel like you know him put it that way. I mean, you get to know him, you might not physically see him but you definitely get to know him.
Is Effie a Bridezilla?
Oh she likes to call herself a Wogzilla ! Which is almost twice as bad I think! But there is a kindness to her too.
Effie still looks the same as she did 20 years ago, is she undergoing any enhancements of the cosmetic kind?
She doesn’t like to tamper with Gods great work, she just likes to maintain respect and not take for granted , she doesn’t like to leave her image in the hands of someone else. Her husband actually is a plastic surgeon, but she is too much of a scaredy cat and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
We don’t often get to see/hear Effie in this light. She is so eloquent and well spoken. It was great to chat to the real Mary Coustas about her character. I walked away being more intrigued about this woman than ever before. She could talk anyone under the table, but what she has to say is of substance. You would want her at any party to liven things up, yet at the same time, I have a feeling this woman could hold her own in any company speaking on any subject. Im SUPER EXCITED to see her show tomorrow night in Perth at the Regal Theatre. Who is coming?
Interview by Bernadette Bosanac
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