Caity Fowler returns to The Butterfly Club with her latest offering, I Am Another Yourself. The title is a translation of an ancient Mayan phrase “In Lak’ech” and has felt profound to Fowler since she first read it.
It’s a cathartic and freeing show for Fowler, allowing her to feel confident in her own ability and talent. She had been sitting with the title for awhile before the actual show came together.
“I had been reading books with more spiritual leanings, while looking at people more and more and realising how connected we are,” Fowler said.
“To me, ‘I Love You’ implies a division between me and the object of my affection. I wondered if there was another phrase that captured that essence of affection, but sameness also.
“That’s what I feel ‘I Am Another Yourself’ does.”
In a show exploring the last two years of Fowler’s life, audiences can expect original songs and stories of her experiences.
“In that time I got married and bought a house and started to meditate a lot more than I used to. Those are all pretty big things,” she said.
“I think the thing that really inspired [I Am Another Yourself] was empathy and connection and universal sorrow and grief.”
2016 has been a particularly difficult year for Fowler.
“I wasn’t feeling inspired and I wasn’t feeling very uplifted,” she said.
“I felt that I had a responsibility to create an uplifting and light thing, that that was my job as an artist: to make people feel good.
“I wondered if in talking about the things that aren’t light and aren’t easy, if we could uplift people. Life is spoken about as if it’s a good thing and that tragedy occurs. That’s not the case – those stories of hardships and triumphs and all the ones in between shape us.
“There’s something very strengthening and peaceful in all of us facing that together, in our sameness.”
The unscripted show telling her personal truths has allowed her the space and time to dedicate to believing in her ability. For someone who usually has a team around her, it was a liberating experience.
“One of the themes that has been important to me is a feeling that I am enough,” she said.
“The show is just me, and it’s just my words and my stories and my music and there was no one else to tell me where to stand or what to do and it was so much about giving myself permission.”
The theme of being confident that what she brings to the table is more than enough is shaping Fowler’s perspective these days. It’s something the late Helen Noonan instilled in her and it has had a profound impact on Fowler’s career choices.
“She was so vivacious and determined. What she taught me most is that she never doubted her value and her contribution to society,” Fowler said.
“Society and our wages do not always reflect the art that we make, and that can be a bit of a struggle then to feel that sense of worth and then to commit to overcoming the subsequent challenges.
“I was at [Helen’s] funeral and I was in this room with hundreds of people celebrating her life and her contribution to our world. It just felt so important. Even though she was very successful, she didn’t make millions of dollars.
“It struck me in that moment that that was courage.”
Stuck with this idea of ‘I Am Another Yourself’ floating around in her head, and no concrete idea of her show, Fowler actively decided to approach the writing method differently.
“For this process I wondered what would happen if I didn’t force myself to work at it,” she said.
“What would happen If I didn’t sit down to write specific things at specific times and I didn’t plan and analyse and wonder about how I’d make things clever or informative? I wondered if I let that go, if something good could happen.
“One day I sat down in my living room and just kinda wrote the whole show. It was really beautiful and it was nice to realise that the creative process could be that simple. When I over structure myself, it comes from a place that isn’t trusting that I can do what needs to be done.
“There was this limit to where I could go before I felt unbalanced in the past. I have a feeling now that it can be much further.”
Throughout the discussion, it became clear that Fowler is deeply inspired by art and artists exploring the intersection of the domestic and divine. The existentialism of her own show is something she feels has allowed her to explore this same intersection.
“I anticipate that it will be slightly different night to night,” she said.
“It’s my truth that I’m exploring, in order to demonstrate our sameness. I want to tell that as well as I can.”
After a positive opening night, Fowler is keen for the remainder of the season. Audiences are in for a freeing and unifying show exploring the human condition.
I Am Another Yourself is on at Melbourne’s The Butterfly Club until Sunday 30 October 2016.
Tickets available through The Butterfly Club: https://thebutterflyclub.com/show/i-am-another-yourself