When Alexandra Keddie was twelve years old she decided she wanted to become an actor. Keddie admits that being an only child, she was probably more interested in the attention that comes from being famous than the craft itself, but she decided if she was going to be an actor she would learn from the best: Meryl Streep.
“There’s a reason why people love her so much and there’s a reason why she’s won all those awards – because she’s the best,” said Keddie.
Keddie went on to study music theatre and performed with Brisbane’s Harvest Rain Theatre Company. The love of the art form is now her driving force, not the twelve year old desire for attention and fame.
“You can’t keep going at it, and all the difficulties that come with it, without having some sort of passion for what it’s really all about and that’s story telling,” Keddie said.
In recent years Keddie has transitioned more into television, with roles on ABC’s The Doctor Blake Mysteries and most recently, returning to her on and off screen role in Channel 10’s Offspring.
If the name is familiar, Alexandra Keddie is a cousin of Logie Award winning actor Asher Keddie.
“I’m very lucky that the people I’m related to are very talented and put their name to very worthy works. I got this job (in Offspring) because of Ash. She called me on my 21st birthday and asked me if I wanted to do the voice overs on the show and that’s been my open door into this industry,” explained Alexandra Keddie, who has been performing the inner monologue for the title character of Nina Proudman since 2013, as well as an on air character in season 5.
Keddie is philosophical about the family connection, saying, “Perhaps it may open the door, but you still have to walk through it.”
Despite this successful foray into television, Keddie wanted to get back on the stage and sing.
“It’s terrifying, but it’s fantastic! It’s pretty exposing being on stage. There’s no where to hide!” exclaimed Keddie.
Keddie had always loved music theatre, but had decided it’s probably not where she belongs.
“I’m not a fantastic dancer. I can move a bit. I can sing, but I’m a classical soprano and I don’t have quite the right voice for it, but I do love it, and I love watching it. But I’ve sort of transitioned into theatre and television,” explained Keddie, who now uses all the elements from her theatre training in her television work.
Keddie also knows the importance of diversity within the entertainment industry and decided to write a one-woman cabaret show – about Meryl Streep.
“I was looking for a subject to do a cabaret about and I just figured it would be such a great opportunity,” Keddie commented.
It provided Keddie with a reason to learn so much more about Meryl Streep.
“It’s been a really great exercise for me as an actor and a writer to delve into that and to see if I could do it to start with!”
Keddie admits she initially hadn’t found the heart of the story, “I thought it would become a Meryl Streep tribute show, but it’s become as much about a 17 year old girl who idolises her. It’s an amplified version of my own story,” said Keddie,
“It’s about how Meryl is the person in her life who helps her strive to do more. She’s someone who doesn’t feel quite right and feels misplaced. Meryl makes her feel brave.”
In writing the show I See Me and Meryl Streep, Keddie learnt as much about acting as she did about Meryl Streep. Any text in the show attributed to Meryl Streep is vertabim and taken from speeches or songs by Streep. Keddie then had to really study the physicality of Meryl Streep’s voice.
“Her voice is such a tricky one to mimic. She uses every single aspect of her voice. She’s such a master of it.”
After an initial season last year, Keddie has made a few changes to the show. Now, following a successful Brisbane season, Keddie brings her one-woman show to the Melbourne Cabaret Festival. While fans of Meryl Streep will clearly enjoy the show, Keddie says the show will appeal to a wide audience across all ages.
I See Me and Meryl Streep performs tonight and Wednesday night as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.
Dates June 21st & 22nd
Cost $29 – $37
Venue The Space, Prahran