PERFORMANCE-MAKER: KOMANG ROSIE CLYNES
PERFORMANCE-MAKER: KOMANG ROSIE CLYNES
Komang Rosie Clynes
I work as an actor and specialise in live performance.
Gemini Sun (with Scorpio Moon, Taurus Rising.)
My name is Komang Rosie Clynes, but people call me Rosie. I’m an actor and performance-maker living in Melbourne (Naarm). I trained at the Victorian College of the Arts as an actor and, since graduating a few years ago, have gone to do heaps of different things, from creating contemporary performance works with friends, to being in other people’s shows and films, to writing my own material. I’m Balinese-Australian, and i’ve recently come back from a year long trip in Central Java, Indonesia, where I trained with a renowned political theatre company called Teater Garasi and learnt more about what it means to be a contemporary artist in Indonesia’s current social climate. I create work that is infused with music, terror and magic, and which explores modern anxieties from a female-focused, multi-heritage lens.
What is your star signs strengths and weaknesses? Do you see similarities within yourself?
Strengths: Curious, adaptable, ability to exchange ideas, outgoing, intelligent.
Weaknesses: Nervous, inconsistent, indecisive, impulsive, nosy.
For me, being a Gemini revolves around hyper-communication and connection. I live to learn about and experience the world around me, to share ideas with others. Most other Geminis I know are not islands - we cannot sustain ourselves without having a significant feeling of connection to others around us. Being a Gemini doesn’t always mean you’re the life of the party, or super-extroverted, or enjoy gossiping. For me, it simply means valuing the interpersonal and being very people-focused. I feel Geminis are well-known for their over-active, turbo-engined minds. I have huge energy reserves, the energy and excitement of two people combined, which means my head is constantly running a thousand thoughts a minute, and I am prone to getting nervous, anxious, and indecisive. So many Geminis I know struggle with anxiety and, while we are blessed with witty minds which work like generators and absorb information super quickly, we can often go into sputtering over-drive and have to crash to a halt. Another Gemini trait which I resonate with is the idea of multiple personalities and energies in one person. I think everyone has this to some extent, but I really do notice that I can flip states of feeling and emotion so quickly.
What is your best friend’s star sign?
My best friend is a Gemini. In fact, I have a lot of Gemini friends in my life, and with all of them there is a connection which is very special and unspoken. Geminis are always floating around looking for other Gemini twins to fill that void next to them, and when we find each other, it’s like we are magnets, finding those lost inner twins within one another. I find a deep sense of natural understanding and empathy with fellow Geminis which takes a bit longer time for me to build with friendships of other signs.
Do you believe in the strength of astrological spirituality?
I believe in taking everything with a grain of salt, and while there is something comforting in relinquishing control over what is ‘written in the stars’ about us, I always remind myself that I am responsible for my own gestures and actions. If anything, I find astrological spirituality empowering because, through reflecting on traits that feel intrinsic to us, we can accept them, stop battling them, and also accept that we are vastly different to others around us. When we accept the diversity of human experience and persona, our ability to exercise empathy strengthens. Through astrology, we can forgive and accept ourselves and others around us a little easier.
Artistically, you identify as a performance maker. What does this mean and entail creatively, and how is it different to conventional mediums?
I call myself a ‘performance maker’ pretty much because I like to keep my options open and my medium vast! When I graduated and started getting cast in things, I found just as much enjoyment and empowerment in creating my own shows with friends, and in fact, up until now, creating my own work has led to much more opportunity, work and new contacts in the field. I also have so many interests (directing film, composing music) that I don’t want to limit myself with a label too narrow until I’ve had the chance to really develop my practice. Lastly, often when I tell people i’m a theatre actor they think I act in traditional plays, kitchen sink dramas or Shakespearean period dramas which are very text- and script-based, when in actual fact, the type of shows i’ve worked on have had me singing in tiny jazz clubs, vogueing in huge fur coats, doing highly choreographed disco routines in giant gold headdresses, vomiting blood, and vaping in my underwear. You get the drift.
Can you see characteristics of your star sign within your occupation and work?
Absolutely. Geminis are storytellers and communicators, just like artists, and it is a strong compulsion to communicate stories and ideas I think matter to those around me which has steered me toward my artistic practice. Reflected in my occupation is also that strong Gemini inclination towards playfulness, and towards persona. Geminis are the Kings and Queens of persona; we are known for our shape-shifting qualities and our multi-faceted identities. Being an actor allows me to be the ultimate shape-shifter; I get to feed that insatiable Gemini curiosity through character and dramaturgical research, and then put on whole new skin and state of being while I’m onstage.
What is the most important part of being an artist for you? And what do you hope your art teaches to yourself and others?
To me, I think the role of an artist is that of a caregiver for the collective human spirit. I think the most important part of being an artist is creating work that nourishes the souls of those around you. We create art to heal each other, to heal our communities, to connect one another and remind each other of our collective and equal humanity. I think it is possible for a society to exist without art, but it would be a meagre, disconnected and futile place. My art continues to teach me so much each year. I am humbled and reinvigorated by the processes I go through with it. As for others around me, I don’t set out with the intention of teaching anyone any lessons - I barely know anything. I hope, rather, that my work is another, interesting voice in the conversations I find important, a voice which reassures other women and people of colour who view my work that they are not alone, and that there is no shame in being their beautiful, complete selves.
What has been one of the most challenging aspects of your work? Whether this be practice, or industry?
Lack of routine. Financial instability. An inability to plan too far forward or create too much structure each year, in case an unexpected project springs up. I’m still trying to learn how to balance my artistic practice with getting enough money to feed myself, enough time to rest, and enough structure and stability to feel like this career is sustainable. It’s an ongoing process and I know many young artists struggle with this. I find the film and theatre industries very white-washed, and hard ones to thrive in if you’re a woman. Even drama school was incredibly poor model for diversity. I was told by a lecturer (who cared for me hugely and had my best interests at heart) when entering the industry to ditch my first name, Komang, for casting reasons. It’s a shame. But it’s all starting to change. I recently performed in a show at Next Wave Festival, and it’s cultural institutions like Next Wave which are committed to giving a platform to a full, diverse spectrum of voices which I think are the heroes of this industry. We can’t keep getting told the same straight, white, cis, male, able-bodied stories all the time. It’s boring and it’s dangerous.
Did you imagine yourself becoming/working as a creative as a child?
Yes, it’s all I could ever imagine myself doing, much to the dismay of my parents. I think once you realise you have the creative itch, it’s very, very hard to silence it or ignore its presence. I drew, danced and played my way through my childhood, and had staggeringly huge fantasies of being a superstar artiste of some vague sort. Now, it’s just about maintaining that sense of joy in expressing myself.
What is your favourite text at the moment? This can be a movie, artwork, music. Why do you think you resonate with this text and what does it reflect in you?
At the moment, it’s Moses Sumney’s extended version of ‘Make Out In My Car’. I’m listening to it as I write this, in fact. I listened to that whole album (Aromanticism) on repeat last year while I was living in Bali and Central Java. It inspired me to turn down an (amazing) office job opportunity in Bali and keep focusing on being a creative. Moses Sumney’s music makes me feel so safe and held, and this extended version of the song is an incredibly epic, funky, layered version of the gentle, ethereal original. It’s funny I spoke so lengthily about persona before, as my current film favourite is a film I watched recently called ‘Persona’ by Ingmar Bergman. It is a beautiful, surreal film about two women which explores identity and persona. It’s so refreshing to just watch two women on a screen for an hour and a half. And the script is also sublime. I love work like Bergman’s. I love dream logic and feelings you can’t explain with words. I love the realm of nightmare and of prayer. My most favourite scene of all time is the Club Silencio scene in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, where a Spanish cabaret singer with a jewelled tear on her face collapses in the middle of singing a soaring ballad, but the singing continues, as if by a phantom singer, while she is dragged offstage unceremoniously. It is a reminder that not everything is what it seems, and to respect the magic of the unknown world around us.
What’s a piece of advice you’d want to give your future self?
Hi, future-Rosie! Please find a side job that you actually like doing and which will sustain you and maybe even excite you as much as your artistic practice. Don’t beat yourself up so much. Be kind. Be patient with others and with yourself. Stop buying so many espresso martinis as ‘special treats’. Remember there’s a whole world out there, and you are responsible in your contributions toward it.